Is using a tongue scraper bad for you?

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A tongue scraper is an oral hygiene tool that mechanically cleans the top of your tongue from microbes, dead cells, and food residues. It is a product recommended by dental professionals. However, people may still ask if is using a tongue scraper bad for you. Or people who have experienced some injuries or tongue irritations may wonder if there are any tongue scraper side effects. 

As a matter of fact, the tongue scraper is a pretty innocent oral hygiene tool. But still, our task is to examine and prove all doubts. That’s why, in this article, we will examine if is there anything bad about tongue scraper with you.

Is tongue scraper bad for you?

So, as it’s not a common tool like a toothbrush, people may wonder if is using a tongue scraper bad for you. Not at all

There isn’t much research done about tongue scrappers yet, however, dentists and dental professionals say there are no significant side effects that can harm you if you use them well. A tongue scraper is a tool that is used to mechanically clean the upper surface of the tongue. It scrapes dead cells, harmful bacteria, and food debris. Since it is not a chemical agent or a drug, it has no side effects on its own. It just helps you to keep your mouth healthy and clean.

What do dentists say about using a tongue scraper?

Dentists recommend the use of the tongue scraper. They explain its utility as cleaning bacteria, food particles, and dead cells. Researches show that using a tongue scraper can lead to a significant decrease in volatile sulfur compounds in your mouth. These are the main reasons behind bad breath problems. 

Scraping the tongue also reduces the risk of oral diseases. We also know that it is much more effective than using a toothbrush to clean the tongue surface. You can see how it can be much more effective than a toothbrush in this video:

Tongue scraper side effects and risks

In fact, tongue scrapers don’t have any side effects by their nature. Almost all possible cons are caused by using style or the reflexes of your body. This is because tongue scraper is a tool, not a drug or a chemical. Like most tools, proper use of tongue scraper doesn’t cause any harm to many people. 

However, some people may be more sensitive to things that come close to their throats. So they may make a gag reflex or they may vomit. If you feel like that you can try to use it more sensitively or you can search for alternatives.

What are the possible tongue scraper injuries and damage?

So let’s investigate what kind of bad things can happen when you’re scraping your tongue.

Cuts and injuries to the tongue: Scrapers can be made from different materials and some can cause injuries if you go so hard on your tongue. Your tongue is a soft tissue covered with little taste buds called papillae. Making so much pressure on your tongue or scraping too hard can damage them. Therefore you should be kind to your tongue. You should apply gentle pressure and be careful about its sharp edges.

Tongue irritation and pain: Tongue scraper irritation actually a sign of scraping wrong. It is generally caused by overusing the scraper or applying too much pressure. As your tongue gets irritated, it may get harder to taste well and you can experience tongue pain.

Tonsil injuries and bleeding: Tonsils are like the outposts of our immune system. They are the first line of defense. However because they are flesh masses exposed in your mouth, you can harm them with anything you put in your mouth. So it’s better to avoid starting scraping from too deep.

Bumps on the tongue and purple spots: This is also a sign of your tongue get hurt. The taste buds covering the upper surface of your tongue, called papillae, can get damaged by objects you use to scrape your tongue.

Gag and vomiting: This is probably the most common tongue scraper side effect. Some people have a more sensitive gag reflex, so they can gag or even vomit because of scraping. That’s why it’s better not to start scraping from too much behind the tongue. Especially if you have such sensitivities.

You may spread the bacteria: Yes it is also possible. You have to clean the scraper well after each use. And try not to touch anywhere in your mouth when pulling it back. After that, clean it and be sure there is no debris and dirt left on the scraper. Using unhygienic tools is very bad for your oral health.

What happens if you overuse it?

Can you overuse a tongue scraper? Well, as with all oral hygiene products, the answer is yes. Overscraping your tongue generally means applying too much pressure and causing injuries and irritation. Dental professionals advise using it once or twice a day. You may scrape more depending on your own situation. For example, if you have a dry mouth problem or you have bad breath problems, you can scrape more. However, scraping too much can cause irritation and injuries as well as scraping with too much pressure. But if you apply too much pressure, you can cause injuries, tongue irritation, and bleeding.

Why you should be careful about scraping your tongue?

The answer is pretty simple: to avoid any injuries or gag reflex. If you scrape carefully and gently you probably won’t hurt yourself. Injuries and tongue irritations can be uncomfortable and they can disturb your sense of taste. Besides tongue scraper has many oral health benefits, you also should be gentle while using it. If you gag easily, you can try starting the scraping process at the front of your tongue and then gradually scrape from the back. It may work better as you gradually train yourself.

So, keep scraping as a part of your oral hygiene routine and be gentle and protect your taste buds. Don’t go so hard on your tongue. At the end of the day, where is the beauty of life if you can’t taste well?


Saccomanno, Sabina et al. “The importance of promoting oral health in schools: a pilot study.” European journal of translational myology vol. 33,1 10.4081/ejtm.2023.11158. 24 Mar. 2023, doi:10.4081/ejtm.2023.11158


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