A tongue cleaner? Say what?! Whoever heard of such a thing? Well, not many people. In fact, studies show that less than 20 percent of Americans have ever used a tongue cleaner. Even most people who pride themselves on their excellent oral hygiene practices don’t routinely use a tongue cleaner, and many never have. But tongue cleaners are wonderful and inexpensive little devices that can do wonders for the health of your mouth, especially if you’re someone who faces challenges with your teeth or even with chronic bad breathe. But what is a tongue cleaner? Why should you use one? Will it really make that big a difference to your teeth, gums, or breathe? The answer to this question? Absolutely! And the great news is that it takes just a minute or two a day. Here’s more information from general dentists about tongue cleaners and, most importantly, why you should add a tongue cleaner to your daily oral hygiene regimen.
What is a tongue cleaner?
A tongue cleaner, also referred to as a tongue brush or a tongue scraper, is an oral hygiene device used to clean bacteria that can build up on the tongue from food residue, dead cells, and even fungus (yes, fungus – ewww!). Fungi and bacteria that grow and build up in the mouth often grow most notably on the tongue, since the tongue touches just about every other surface in the mouth. And you know what that means? It means your tongue is happily depositing that bacteria in all the other surfaces of your mouth. So, when you use a tongue cleaner, you’re cleaning much of the bacteria off your tongue that would normally stay there, wreaking its unsuspecting havoc on your teeth and gums as it sloshes around your mouth, leaving trails of bacteria. Is this grossing you out? It should, because that’s what your tongue is doing right now, and you never even knew it!
Who came up with this idea anyway?
The Romans. (Isn’t it funny how, when you ask a question like this, the answer is almost always the Romans?) Well, okay, so maybe the Roman didn’t know everything, but they sure knew how to keep their tongues clean. The Romans are among the first recorded tongue cleaners in history. But they’re not alone, by any means. Tongue cleaning has been a part of traditional Indian medicine for centuries, especially due to its ability to remove toxic byproducts that can be caused by incomplete digestion. Additionally, since the 18th century, Europeans have been using tongue cleaners, and back then many of the top echelon constructed theirs with beautiful artisan craftsmanship from such materials as ivory and even sterling silver.
What can a tongue cleaner do?
Tongue cleaners, brushes, and scrapers clean the top surface of the tongue, where a good deal of bacteria grows and often stays, if it’s not flushed away. And if you think you’re brushing it away, think again. Even if you use your toothbrush to brush your tongue, studies have shown that, because of their ergonomic designs, tongue scrapers and cleaners are far more effective for cleaning and flushing away nasty bacteria that can lead to tooth and gum diseases. And you know what else that nasty bacteria are helping you to avoid? Bad breath. The fact is that tongue cleaners lead to fresher breath because they’re washing away so much of that bad bacteria that can lead to halitosis. Another benefit of using a tongue cleaner, believe it or not, is the added benefit of its contribution to your body’s overall health. Recent clinical trials and reports have linked poor oral hygiene to pathologies of the rest of the body, including such medical conditions as heart disease and diabetes.
So, if you were watching a commercial about tongue cleaners, you’d probably see a really handsome guy or a beautiful woman surrounded by admirers and living an active, happy life and it’s all because of the tongue cleaner. Is that realistic? Absolutely! All right, it might be a bit of an exaggeration, but the fact is that adding a tongue cleaner to your oral hygiene routine can make a big difference in the health of your mouth, and it can make a huge difference if you’re someone who suffers from chronic bad breath. It can even have a positive impact on your body’s overall health, especially since recent studies have reported a link between dental health and the health of other systems of the body, including the heart. But don’t take anyone else’s word for it. Purchase a tongue cleaner at a grocery or drug store and use it for just 30 days. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much fresher your breath is and how much cleaner your mouth feels. For more information about tongue cleaners and scrapers, schedule an appointment with a general dentist to have all your questions answered.