In this article, we may include products or services we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission to help fund our mission to create more healthy smiles. Here’s our process.
Tongue scrapers are exactly what they sound like: something to scrape your tongue. But why? What is the hype all about? Does tongue scraping really matter for your oral health? Since when is tongue scraping a recommendation, and is it really all that important?
Our tongues harbor TONS of bacteria; in fact, some studies say billions of strains that we don’t even know the names of yet, have yet to be identified, and are unaware of the effects of. If you’ve ever noticed a filmy residue on your tongue or had your dental professional mention a tongue scraper, this device is a great way to remove a bunch of the germs hiding across your bumpy tongue surface.
On a related note, maybe you have pesky bad breath that just won’t seem to quit. Did you know about 90% of bad breath bacteria are found on your tongue?
Using the best tongue scrapers is an important part of your home oral hygiene routine. Here are the top 5 choices on the market today and why you should start using one ASAP.
Do tongue scrapers work? The best tongue scrapers quite literally scrape the tongue’s top surface to remove the buildup of bacteria and food particles hiding inside of your “papillae” (those are the tiny little bumpy things across the top of your tongue. Tongue scraping is a similar technique to brushing and flossing when you think about it! When we brush and floss, we are mechanically removing the plaque and bacteria buildup in our mouth. Tongue scraping is no different!
Often one of the largest contributors to bad breath is excess bacteria build up on the tongue. Those bacteria can accumulate quickly and really start to smell or even taste bad. While bad breath can certainly have many causes—including gum disease or sinus infections—one of the first recommendations your dental hygienist or dentist may suggest is to start using a tongue scraper every day.
When you tongue scrape/scrape your tongue, you physically remove the bacteria that gets caught and causes a bad breath smell. It’s almost like not brushing your teeth; if you don’t brush the plaque off, it’s going to get funky real fast! Your tongue makes up a huge part of your mouth, so when you start to clean it, it can make a drastic difference in your overall oral bacteria levels and how your breath smells.
While tongue scraping can combat bad breath, it’s still important to rule out other potential causes, including but not limited to issues like acid reflux and GI disorders, bacterial gut overgrowths, sinus infections, allergies, dry mouth, periodontal disease, and more. Be sure to talk to your dentist about any bad breath concerns you may have, as it can be a sign of other oral and systemic health concerns that need to be addressed.
There are a few different versions of tongue scrapers available today. Some of the best tongue scrapers include the following:
Most, if not all, metal tongue scrapers are dishwasher safe, making them a great option for multiple uses and decreased waste.
A tongue scraper can freshen your breath and reduce the overall bacterial levels in your mouth, but how do we choose one over the other? Here are my top recommended brands if you’re considering buying a tongue scraper for the first time.
DenTek makes an easy to use and affordable tongue scraper. With some pretty cool built in technology, it stands out from the crowd of tongue scrapers. This particular type of tongue scraper was designed after a surgeon’s scrub brush (like the ones they use to decontaminate their hands prior to surgery) and is very effective at removing bacteria buildup.
The DenTek Orabrush tongue scraper has built in soft pointed bristles that help to reach the deepest surfaces on the tongue. This design helps to loosen and remove bacteria and food debris from the bumpy tongue surfaces. Instructions are simple: just angle the scraper up and gently pull it in a forward motion to properly remove filmy buildup. DenTek recommends that you replace your tongue scraper every 3-4 months to ensure it is still effectively removing bacteria.
With small bristles to help catch bacteria and debris buildup, the DenTek Orabrush tongue scraper is a great option to keep your tongue clean and fresh. If you are looking for a semi-disposable best tongue scrapers option, this may be the one. You can find the DenTek Orabrush online or in major retailer stores like Walmart and CVS at about $5-$7 per pack. This option is affordable and very effective.
Now come the disposable tongue scrapers. But don’t worry. These are made with 100% recyclable plastic! Grin values both your tongue health and the planet, so you can recycle your tongue scrapers once they start to wear out.
Grin tongue scrapers are made for one time use, and it really is that simple. Similar to the design of floss picks, the Grin tongue scraper is a bit smaller in size compared to other tongue scrapers that you see on the market. One pack of these tongue scrapers comes with 32 uses and is a great option for both traveling or everyday use!
If you’re looking for a quick, easy to use, affordable, and a recycled flosser, Grin has got you covered! Keep them in your purse, desk, or car; just be sure to dispose of them responsibly!
The OG of tongue scrapers for kids is the TUNG brush! This is one of the very first tongue scrapers made specifically for children, and it’s been quite the hit with kiddos and parents alike. TUNG proudly supports tongue scraping part of a 3-step routine of oral hygiene: floss, brush, and scrape your tongue!
The TUNG brush is a great way to motivate kiddos to start and keep a good routine when it comes to oral hygiene. Especially since some kids really struggle with bad breath. TUNG is passionate about children’s oral health and encourages parents to introduce tongue cleaning at a young age (with proper supervision, of course). Firm bristles on the rounded head help trap and remove bacteria films from the tongue’s surface. The sleek design is made to help reduce the gag reflex and improve patient comfort with use. Also, a little practice never hurts anybody! Over time, your tongue can become desensitized, and you may be able to reduce your gag reflex altogether. Starting at a young age can make all the difference. That being said, it’s important to be sure you supervise young ones when using this device to avoid any possibility of soft tissue trauma to the throat or choking.
The TUNG brush scraper can be found online and at some major retailers. It’s often sold alongside the TUNG gel (which they make to use before tongue scraping.) The antibacterial gel helps to loosen and fight disease-causing bacteria so that it’s easier to remove with the brush. Do you have a little one at home with bad breath that just will not go away? Perhaps the TUNG brush is all they need!
The Amazing OralCare Deep Clean Tongue Scraper is a top-of-the-line choice for those seeking a superior alternative to the conventional plastic tongue scraper. Its innovative double-ended design includes a flat edge and a unique serrated edge, crafted from 100% medical-grade stainless steel. This feature sets it apart from typical plastic tongue scrapers, offering enhanced durability and effectiveness.
This tongue scraper is an industry first, seamlessly combining the benefits of a dual-action tongue cleaner with the efficiency of metal. Its serrated surface is especially advantageous for those with a sensitive gag reflex, enabling gentle yet comprehensive cleaning. Crafted from medical-grade stainless steel, this scraper is guaranteed to be rust-proof and safe for oral use.
Priced at just $6.99 for two, the Amazing Oralcare Deep Clean Tongue Scraper is not only affordable but also a practical investment for your oral health. It's an excellent choice for anyone looking to upgrade from plastic tongue cleaners to something more robust and hygienic, without triggering a sensitive gag reflex. Plus, its lifetime guarantee assures long-term quality and satisfaction.
The Mastermedi tongue scraper has earned its name as the master when it comes to tongue scrapers. No, seriously, have you checked these bad boys out on Amazon?! With over 98 THOUSAND 4.6+ star reviews, users are seriously happy with this reusable product. I mean, if a tongue scraper is worth a review from that many users, it’s worth looking into in my opinion!
The Mastermedi tongue scraper is a 100% stainless steel based tongue scraper that is non-toxic and safe for use on children and adults. The stainless steel makeup is very durable and provides many uses without wear and tear! Plus, you can pop it into the dishwasher when you need to clean it. With grip friendly handles, this U- shaped metal scraper is ideal as it can bend and be turned into positions to fully clean the entire tongue.
This tongue scraper is sold in packs of 2 for around $10. The price can fluctuate a bit depending on retailers. With an easy to use ergonomic design and no need to toss it after each use, the Mastermedi is a great option for anyone who wants to improve their oral health, reduce bad breath causing bacteria, and have a durable, reusable device.
So, is all the hype about tongue scraping really worth it? Are the best tongue scrapers a total gimmick? I am here to tell you as a dental hygienist and patient myself, I can attest to the benefits of an effective tongue scraper. I actually cannot believe I went over 20 years without scraping my tongue, and the thought alone makes me want to gag a little. No pun intended! But don’t just trust me, follow the science on the effects of tongue scraping.
Plenty of research has been done to review the benefits of tongue scraping as part of your home hygiene routine. Some of the best benefits you can get from tongue scraping include:
Odor causing bacteria thrive on the tongue. It gets stuck makes a home in the fuzzy carpet-like surface, and doesn’t leave unless you make it! When you remove the film of bacteria, you take bad odors with it!
By removing any filmy residue off the top of your tongue, you free up the taste buds underneath! If they’re covered up by filmy debris and bacteria, they cannot function as well and can change your taste perception! Scrape your tongue and your tastebuds will thank you!
One of the most obvious benefits when you remove bacteria from your tongue is that you have LESS bacteria in your mouth. While we can certainly never sterilize our mouths, it is important to remove the harmful, disease-causing, bad breath inducing germs!
Here are a few things to think about whenever you’re choosing the tongue scraper with the best fit for you and your mouth!
While the old school ways of brushing and flossing are certainly the most crucial component of your oral hygiene routine, tongue scraping takes your oral health and fresh breath to the next level. As more research supports the use of tongue scrapers in your home oral hygiene routine, more patients and providers are discussing the positive benefits of these devices. That being said, it’s best to rule out other potential health concerns or dental conditions that could be contributing to bad breath. Once those are ruled out, you can focus on finding the best tongue scrapers to reduce bad breath once and for all! Once you use a tongue scraper for the first time, you’ll be floored at what you see. I’m serious!