Product Reviews
Updated on July 21, 2022

Tongue Scraping

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What is a Tongue Scraper?

It can be uncomfortable and embarrassing to experience bad breath, but it is a common condition. However, there are solutions available.

A tongue scraper can help reduce the amount of odor-causing bacteria on the tongue.

Tongue scrapers come in a few different forms. The most common is a conical-shaped plastic or metal device. They are inexpensive and easily available online.

young woman brushing her tongue in the bathroom

Everything We Recommend

Best Overall Mastermedi

Runner Up Basic Concepts

Best on a BudgetThinkprice

For Sensitive TonguesOrabrush

For best results, use your tongue scraper daily to reduce debris and build-up on your tongue. Daily scraping can help reduce bad breath. It also increases taste sensitivity and improves your overall oral health.

How to Clean Your Tongue with a Tongue Scraper

Using a tongue scraper is simple. The best way to use a tongue scraper is to practice using it in front of a mirror to become familiar with the process.

The steps include:

  1. Use the rounded end of the tongue scraper at the back of your tongue. If you feel a gag reflex, start in the middle of your tongue until you feel more comfortable. 
  2. Scrape your tongue by pulling the tongue scraper forward to the tip of your tongue.
  3. Clean the tongue scraper between uses to remove dead cells and bacteria.
  4. Repeat until the surface of your tongue is clean.
  5. Wash your tongue scraper with soap and water and store it in a clean, dry area to avoid bacterial build-up. 

How to Clean a Tongue Scraper

To clean your tongue scraper, wash it gently with warm soapy water. Keep it stored in a dry, clean place. 

Try to avoid keeping your tongue scraper in any closed container as it may cause bacterial buildup, which is harmful to your oral health and can also help eliminate bad breath.

Benefits of a Tongue Scraper

There are numerous benefits to using a tongue scraper. Some key advantages include: 

Improved appearance of the tongue

A white, coated tongue is not attractive. Scraping can help improve the look of your tongue when smiling or laughing.

Improved taste buds

Tongue scraping can help reduce the amount of excess debris. This can help improve your overall sense of taste.

Improved breath

Reducing the number of volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) can help improve bad breath

Improved oral care

Using a tongue scraper can help decrease bacteria responsible for tooth decay and gum disease. 

Best Tongue Cleaners (+ Where to Buy)

Some of the best dentist recommended tongue cleaners include:

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Best Overall

This tongue scraper is highly rated with over 38,000 reviews. It has a 100% stainless steel curved shape scraper to effectively remove debris. The U shaped tongue scraper makes it easy to use, which helps reduce the risk of gagging. The device is also very durable. 

It comes with a travel case and is perfect for on-the-go. The Mastermedi is also cost effective.

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Basic Concepts

Runner Up

This is a patient friendly tongue scraper because of its non-slip comfort grip and extra wide, curved shaped scraper. It is 100% rust-free because it is composed of medical grade stainless steel. It is simple to sterilize to avoid any bacterial build-up. 

It comes in a 2-pack, so you can share them with a significant other or save one as a replacement.

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Best on a Budget

This cost-effective four pack is a great option for people looking for a safe, plastic tongue scraper. It is made from BPA-free materials and is hassle free. People prefer this brand because the head is extra-wide and C shaped allowing for more bacterial removal during scraping.

The kit comes with 4 tongue scrapers and a travel case. It has good value for the price and is great for families looking to improve their oral hygiene. 

What Causes Bad Breath?

Bad breath, or halitosis, can be caused by an oral health condition like gum disease or dry mouth. In some cases, it may indicate a more serious medical condition. 

The most common causes of bad breath include:

Poor oral health

Gum disease and tooth decay can cause an unpleasant smell. Food and debris can get trapped in plaque.


Tobacco products have a strong smell, cause gum disease, and increase the risk for oral cancer.


Certain foods will give a strong odor like garlic, spices, and vegetables.

Digestive issues

Gastrointestinal problems like reflux or poor digestion can cause consumed foods to make their way back up the esophagus and cause halitosis. 

Dry mouth

It is common to experience dry mouth after sleeping or while taking certain medications. A lack of saliva reduces the ability to wash away food particles, which can cause bad breath.

Medical issues

Medical problems like sinus infections, post-nasal drip, or diabetes can also cause bad breath.

How to Get Rid of Bad Breath

A tongue scraper helps reduce the build-up of bacteria that causes bad breath. It must be done consistently. If you use your tongue scraper in the morning, it won’t benefit you after several meals. 

Other tips for reducing bad breath include:

  • Brush twice a day
  • Floss regularly
  • Stay hydrated
  • Use a fluoride mouthwash
  • See your dentist twice a year

Of course, using your tongue scraper daily can also assist in reducing these conditions. 

Potential Side Effects & Risks of Tongue Cleaning

There are few side effects to using a tongue scraper. It is generally a painless and simple experience.

The most commonly reported downsides are activating a gag reflex. When this happens, you should avoid using the tongue scraper too far back.

Sometimes a person is too forceful with the tongue scraper, which may cause an accidental sore. Try to be mindful of how much pressure you use. If your tongue bleeds, rinse your mouth with warm saltwater and let your tongue heal before using it.

Always remember to wash your tongue scraper and keep it in a dry location to avoid bacterial build-up. Plastic tongue scrapers often have to be changed more frequently than stainless steel scrapers. 

6 Sources Cited
Last updated on July 21, 2022
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. Bad breath. American Dental Association.
  2. Rosenberg M. Bad breath.
  3. Soares LG, et al. Effectiveness of full- and partial-mouth disinfection on halitosis in periodontal patients. Journal of Oral Science. 2015;57:1.
  4. Outhouse TL, Al-Alawi R, Fedorowicz Z, Keenan JV. Tongue scraping for treating halitosis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2006 Apr 19;
  5. Pedrazzi V et. al. Tongue-cleaning methods: a comparative clinical trial employing a toothbrush and a tongue scraper. J Periodontol. 2004 Jul;75:1009-12. doi: 10.1902/jop.2004.75.7.1009. PMID: 15341360.
  6. Varghese E. Interventions for managing halitosis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2019 Dec 11;12:CD012213. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD012213.pub2. PMID: 31825092; PMCID: PMC6905014.
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