Using a Tongue Sweeper

Tongue Cleaning Information

The professional path to fresh breath

Despite its recent exposure in the U.S., tongue cleaning is not a new practice. Long before we had terms like plaque and halitosis, people in ancient Egypt, China, and India were cleaning their tongues. The idea behind tongue cleaning is simple: the bulk of oral bacteria and debris, including the volatile sulfur compounds that cause bad breath, reside on the tongue. Removing the debris on the back of the tongue is critical for reducing malodor according to the American Dental Association. It has also been suggested that pathogenic organisms on the tongue contribute to tooth decay and periodontal disease. Some of the most recent studies that may relate to tongue cleaning are the studies that link the health of the mouth to the health of the entire body. Oral bacteria are being related to heart disease, respiratory disease, pneumonia, stomach ulcers, and diabetes. Many people also report an enhanced sense of taste after using a tongue cleaner. A December 1991 article in the JADA recommends tongue cleaning for geriatric patients that have a low desire to eat due to depressed taste sensation. Since the plaque coatings on the tongue dull the taste receptors, this makes perfect sense.

"Better than your brush"

Common Sense Science

The Tongue Sweeper method of safe mechanical removal of the slimy coating of biofilm on the tongue disrupts the anaerobic environment and reduces the number of anaerobic pathogens. The anaerobic bacteria are the cause of bad breath and periodontal disease and are implicated in other systemic diseases. Using a tongue cleaner or tongue scraper takes advantage of common sense science.

Ask Dr.Gordon Christensen

I’ve heard various opinions on the necessity for tongue cleaning. Often, I see extremely coated tongues with green, brown, yellow, and even black debris on the surface. On the other hand, many people have a completely clean and pink tongue. What is the significance of this debris on the tongue? What is the best way to remove it? How often should it be removed? Does it influence caries and periodontal disease? Are young patients immune from debris on their tongues?

Why Clean Your Tongue?

  • prevent malodor(Halitosis)
  • lower risk of tooth decay
  • lower risk of gum disease
  • fresher breath

Learn more about tongue cleaning from Dr. Gordon Christensen