Tongue Cleaning With Toothbrushes And Scrapers: Merits & Demerits

Tongue cleaning can be added as a part of the daily oral care routine to add an extra layer of protection against germs. But does it harm your tongue?

Varun Verma
Written by: Varun VermaUpdated at: Nov 30, 2022 18:38 IST
Tongue Cleaning With Toothbrushes And Scrapers: Merits & Demerits

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Tongue cleaning should ideally be added to your daily oral care routine to add an extra layer of protection against germs. But many people avoid it thinking toothbrushes and tongue scrapers might harm or damage their tongue and taste buds. This article looks at the veracity of this belief and answers whether tongue scraping by toothbrushes and tongue scrapers is really a health hazard.

What is Tongue Cleaning?

Tongue cleaning or scraping is a quick way to get rid of extra debris from the surface of your tongue, including those that contribute to bad breath and other health issues. In this, you make use of a U-shaped device to drag out food particles and other bacteria from the surface of your tongue.

Importance of Tongue Cleaning

Your tongue can accumulate debris, germs, and dead cells over time. This might harm your dental health in general and result in poor breath. When you have harmful bacteria in your mouth, you are more prone to other health conditions as well, like heart attack and stroke, since these bacteria can enter the bloodstream. Thus by cleaning your tongue, you:

  • Remove bacteria
  • Clear bad breath
  • Improve the appearance of your tongue
  • Improve sense of taste
  • Improve overall health
Also Read Your Oral Health Might Affect Your Heart Health, Here's What You Need To Know

Is Toothbrush And Tongue Scraper Harmful To Your Tongue?

One may argue that the mere benefits of tongue cleaning do not outweigh the risk involved in it. Damage to the tongue by toothbrush and tongue scraper depends upon how you use it. As mentioned, scraping your tongue can significantly remove harmful bacteria from your mouth, as well as compounds that cause bad breath.

The important thing to consider is how much pressure you apply while cleaning your tongue. Unless you rub your tongue with tongue scraper too aggressively, no harm will occur. But if you apply rough pressure on your tongue, you may experience irritation or soreness on your tongue. Other than this, a damaged, uneven or sharp-edged tongue cleaner can be harmful, as there are possibilities of getting accidental cuts on your tongue. Thus, picking the right tongue cleaner becomes important.

Besides, tongue cleaners can also stimulate a gag reflex in some. One can avoid this by refraining from taking a tongue scraper too deep into the mouth. Initially, you can scrape from the middle to the tip of your tongue. When you get used to this routine, you can take the tongue scraper further back while cleaning.

As far as cleaning your tongue with a toothbrush is concerned, consider using a soft toothbrush. Just like your gums experience no harm, your tongue will also remain safe. While scraping your tongue with a toothbrush, ensure gentle back-and-forth motion. Rubbing the toothbrush too hard can lead to irritation on the tongue.

Also ReadBefore or After Breakfast: The Right Time To Brush Your Teeth


Cleaning the tongue is beneficial as compared to not cleaning it at all. However, merely cleaning the tongue will not yield good results. You should include this in your daily oral care routine. You can clean your tongue while you brush, that is twice a day. After you clean your tongue, rinse your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash to wash away the debris and germs.

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