Using a tongue scraper can be just as important as brushing and flossing. After all, your tongue can harbour dead cells, bacteria, and other nasties, and why wouldn’t you want to get rid of that build-up? If you’re not accustomed to using a tongue scraper, keep these tips in mind.
Gargle Before Starting
The film you’re attempting to remove from your tongue can be quite tough to get at, especially if you haven’t used a tongue scraper before. To make the whole process that much easier, gargle with warm water before you begin. This should soften and loosen the film along your tongue. Just remember to spit that warm water out instead of swallowing – it will contain bacteria.
Hit It Where It Counts
The back of your tongue generally requires greater attention than the front of your tongue since talking and eating brush the front against the back of your front teeth, helping to keep it clear of any build-up. Unfortunately, some people only scrape towards the front of the tongue – after all, this is the most visible area and the easiest one to reach. Instead, concentrate on starting each scrape towards the back of the tongue.
Go Firm and Even
Knowing the right motion is just as important as knowing where to position the scraper. Start each stroke with the tongue scraper at the back of the tongue, then draw it across the surface slowly but firmly. You don’t need to push down too hard – in fact, doing so can irritate the tongue. Also, avoid vigorously scraping back and forth – this will only spread bacteria around.
Rinse Between Strokes
When you complete the first stroke, you’ll probably be able to see a build-up of gunk along the scraper’s surface. Great – that means the tongue scraper is doing its job. That said, you don’t want to put it right back in your mouth. Instead, wash off the offending gunk by running the head of the scraper under a tap.