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Tongue cleaning

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A tongue cleaner (also called a tongue scraper or tongue brush) is an oral hygiene device designed to clean the bacterial build-up, food debris, fungi, and dead cells from the surface of the tongue. The bacteria and fungi that grow on the tongue are related to many common oral care and general health problems. In addition, decaying bacteria produce volatile sulphur compounds on the rear of the tongue; these molecules account for 80 to 95 percent of all cases of halitosis (bad breath).


Health effects

  • Fresher breath

Tongue cleaning removes a portion of the bacteria, decaying food debris, fungi (such as Candida), and dead skin cells from the rear surface of the tongue. Tongue cleaning aims at treating halitosis, or bad breath. Some limited studies have shown that it is the bacteria on the tongue which often produce malodorous compounds and fatty acids that may account for 80%-95% percent of all cases of bad breath. The remaining 5–20% of cases originate in the stomach, from the tonsils, from decaying food stuck between the teeth, gum disease, tooth decay, or plaque accumulated on the teeth.

Clinical studies have shown that using a tongue cleaner on a daily basis is able to help reduce anaerobic bacteria and decrease oral malodor. Dental specialists generally assume that a majority of cases of halitosis originate on the back of the tongue.


Side effects

Improper use of a tongue cleaner may induce the gag reflex and has caused some individuals to vomit. Overuse of a tongue cleaner may also cause damage to the taste buds.