Science Questions

Do toungue scrapers work?

Sun, 18th May 2008

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Question

David, Nottingham asked:

The new toothbrushes that Iíve seen adverts for on the TV have got a sort of scraper that youíre supposed to scrape along your tongue. Should we be using these things? Are they actually beneficial?

Answer

We put this question to Marcello Riggio:

Absolutely, the bacteria that cause bad breath are actually towards the back of the tongue and they are buried deep within the tongue.  The only way to remove them or reduce their numbers there is to actually use some form of scraping device.  Itís not a very pleasant thing to do if youíre trying to scrape bacteria from the back of the tongue.  One may occasionally gag as well but if you can do that regularly it will help to keep bad breath at bay.  Yes, one would definitely advocate the use of any scraping device, particularly those which are incorporated into tooth brushes.  It has been shown if you can reduce the number of bacteria at the rear of the tongue then there will be less chance of you having bad breath.

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