Author: Lizzie Smith – blog last updated on Tuesday 8th August 2023
Including tongue cleaning in your daily oral hygiene routine is a good idea. In this article, we’ll look at the benefits of scraping and cleaning your tongue and how to do it effectively.
The dirty white or yellowish coating on your tongue is a mix of bacteria, saliva, and food debris. In terms of its composition, it’s comparable to dental plaque. When the deposits are on your tongue, it doesn’t turn into tartar. However, if neglected, it can lead to problems such as bad breath and cause a bad taste in your mouth. Your tongue is also a breeding place for harmful bacteria, so it’s not good for the balance of your oral flora.
Various factors contribute to the development of white deposits on your tongue:
- Firstly (and obviously!) is poor oral hygiene. If you don’t brush and floss your teeth properly, the harmful bacteria in your mouth multiply and find a fertile habitat on the back of your tongue.
- The rougher your tongue is (and for most people, the back of the tongue is very rough), the more bacteria and debris can get stuck between the papillae.
- Even if you take good care of your teeth, you can still get a white tongue. This happens if you use the wrong oral care products with aggressive ingredients or questionable chemicals. These products disrupt the balance of your oral flora so that harmful bacteria gain the upper hand and settle on your tongue.
- The same applies to dry mouth complaints. If you have too little saliva in your mouth, there’s more chance of you getting a white or yellow tongue. Oxygen-rich saliva forms a natural protection for your teeth and oral cavity. In contrast, a saliva deficiency disrupts the oral flora and has an acidifying effect. Harmful bacteria favour this acidity and form part of the white tongue coating.
Usually, a white or yellow deposit on the tongue is merely a case of disturbed bacterial balance in the mouth. The good news is that this is relatively easy to fix with the right tools. Occasionally, a white tongue indicates an infection, such as an oral yeast infection. Even rarer are more severe conditions. And in case of illness, you should consult your doctor.
What’s the best way to clean your tongue?
Firstly, let’s look at how not to do it! Namely, using your toothbrush. The bristles of a toothbrush are too coarse and too hard for the soft tissue of the tongue. Also, the head of your toothbrush is too high to reach the back of your tongue. The more white tongue deposits you must remove at the back of your mouth, the more your toothbrush won’t get to them without making you gag!
So always use a tongue scraper or a special tongue brush with fine soft bristles. Even better, use a tongue cleaner that contains both a brush and a scraper.
What is the best way to clean your tongue? Use a tongue brush and tongue scraper in one.
RyttPro and JuliBrite tongue cleaners are incredibly effective. They both consist of a tongue scraper and tongue brush in one.
How do you use these tongue cleaners?
- Stick your tongue out as far as possible and apply a little RyttPro Gum & Tongue Foam or JuliBrite Tongue Gel to the back of your tongue with the nubbed handle. This unique gel or foam fights the harmful bacteria hidden deep between your tongue papillae but doesn’t disturb the balance of your oral flora.
- Brush your tongue with the bristle side by gently moving it back and forth as far back as possible on the back of your tongue.
- Let the gel or foam work for a minute, rinse the brush well and turn the tongue cleaner over.
- Now place the scraper side of the tongue cleaner on the back of your tongue. Apply some pressure on the scraper, so you flatten your tongue. Slowly wipe the white deposits from the back to the front of your tongue and repeat this several times.
- Brush your teeth and rinse your mouth with a mouth-friendly mouthwash. This is also available from RyttPro and JuliBrite.
Bergenfeld Tongue Serum, the finishing touch
If you suffer from a stubborn white tongue or want to get rid of it quickly, you’ll need to do something extra. Sprinkle a few drops of Bergenfeld Tongue Serum on the back of your tongue.
This serum also contains a safe formula that eliminates the harmful bacteria and their smelly gases yet leaves the beneficial microbes and, therefore, the natural balance of the oral flora undisturbed. Don’t rinse your mouth afterwards. Doing this before going to sleep is best so you can take maximum advantage of the deep cleansing effect.
The benefits of tongue cleaning for your mouth
A healthy tongue is pink or light red in colour. Bacteria and other microbes, which are part of the oral flora, live between the taste buds. If this is out of balance, the harmful anaerobic bacteria gain the upper hand. Together with tiny food remnants and saliva, they form a dirty white layer, which causes smelly breath and a bad taste in your mouth.
By cleaning your tongue daily, you can remove these bacteria and deposits. In addition, there are the following benefits:
- You’ll have fresh breath as the bacteria that produce smelly sulfur gases are removed
- You’ll be able to taste your food better, which is also better for your digestion.
- Your oral health will improve because your oral flora will return to balance. Fewer bacteria also mean fewer caries (cavities), gingivitis and tonsil stones.
The benefits of tongue cleaning for your overall health
Cleaning your tongue daily is not only good for your mouth, teeth and breath, but it also has a beneficial effect on your overall health. In ancient Indian Ayurvedic medicine, removing „ama“, the white tongue deposit, is a well-known ritual. It was and still is recommended for everyone to maintain overall good health.
In recent decades, Western science has also confirmed this. Various studies on periodontitis and bad breath show brushing your teeth and cleaning your tongue is more effective than brushing your teeth alone.
Some scientists go much further. For example, DR. Nathan Bryan says cleaning the tongue helps the beneficial bacteria in the oral cavity. These produce nitrite, which is absorbed in the saliva. If you swallow this saliva, it mixes with stomach acid and forms nitric oxide. This substance protects the various tissues in the body, ranging from your organs, to safeguard your skin against the effects of ageing. That’s why keeping the oral flora healthy is so important.
British Dental Association: Myth busters on brushing your teeth
Health Line: 5 Reasons to Scrape Your Tongue and How to Do It
British Dental Journal: Tongue scrapers may reduce halitosis in adults