Tongue brush vs tongue scraper: which one is better for you?

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Tongue brush vs tongue scraper! This one could be a superhero movie. Both of these tools have been developed to help us with our overall dental hygiene and oral health. You might be thinking “they are both the same thing”. Well, they can help us achieve the same goal: a cleaner tongue and therefore a cleaner mouth and healthier teeth. But it still could be challenging for you to choose one. That’s why we are here with this article to help you figure out the whole story of tongue brush vs tongue scraper.

What is the difference between a tongue brush and a tongue scraper

Now, let’s compare tongue brush vs tongue scraper. What is the difference? Basically, they both do the same thing, but how they are used and what they are made of are different. No, this is not the end of it. We are going to talk about their functions and use instructions in detail. Let’s start with the first difference.

1- How are they used?

To put it simply, you use a tongue brush like a normal toothbrush but instead of your teeth, you are cleaning your tongue. A tongue scraper scrapes off the food debris and harmful bacteria from your tongue.

After you are done brushing your teeth follow these steps to clean your tongue using a tongue scraper:

  1. Place your tongue scraper on the back of your tongue 
  2. Holding the tongue scraper firmly, with a little bit of pressure sweep it to the tip of your tongue to scrape off the white coating on your tongue
  3. Repeat step 2 twice or three times until your tongue is clean
  4. Rinse your mouth after you are done cleaning your tongue

Using toothpaste to clean your tongue is optional. What if you are using a tongue brush to clean your tongue? No worries. Here are the steps to clean your tongue using a tongue brush.

  1. Put your tongue brush on your tongue as far back as you can without gagging 
  2. With gentle pressure drag your tongue brush to the tip of your tongue, no circular motions are needed 
  3. Repeat the same motion with the whole surface of your tongue and the sides as well
  4. Rinse your mouth after you are done cleaning your tongue

2- What do they look like?

A tongue brush is an oral hygiene device that basically looks like a toothbrush but with shorter bristles and a bigger surface that could cover almost the entire surface of the tongue.

Unlike a tongue brush, a tongue scraper does not look like anything that could resemble a toothbrush. It is curved to sit perfectly on the tongue and can cover the entire tongue in one motion.

A tongue brush is usually made out of plastic or medical-grade silicone. On the contrary, the other oral hygiene device which is a tongue scraper, other than plastic, can be made out of metal or copper as well.

3- How often should you replace them?

When it comes to your tongue brush, it is best to replace it after 3 to 4 months of use. The same goes for plastic tongue scrapers. But if you have a reusable tongue scraper that is made out of metal, stainless steel, or copper there is no need to change them at least not in short term. In order to be able to use your stainless steel tongue scrapers, metal or copper tongue scrapers for your whole life you would need to clean them properly.

4- How long does it take to clean your tongue?

With a tongue brush even though it can cover most of the tongue surface it could take a few minutes to clean the entire tongue. But when it comes to tongue cleaning methods using a tongue scraper could be more efficient. By swiping a tongue scraper once or twice on your tongue you can end up with a clean tongue. You just need to make sure all the white coat is cleaned. 

How do they clean your teeth?

An important step in maintaining your oral health is cleaning your tongue. Cleaning your tongue should be an inseparable part of your oral hygiene routine but which methods of tongue cleaning should you go with? This question brings us to the comparison of “tongue brush vs tongue scraper”. Depending on your dental health and your needs, both of these kinds of tongue cleaners could be useful to clean food particles out from the taste buds on your tongue. 

  • Tongue scraper: It covers more of your tongue surface. This could save you a couple of minutes, but you might not be able to clean the edges of your tongue using a tongue scraper.
  • Tongue brush: With a tongue brush, you could reach more areas of your tongue even the edges. You can also reach to the back of your tongue more to get all of that tongue biofilm. 

Remember it is not just which tongue-cleaning procedures you use, it is also how properly you use them on your tongue that matters as well. Brushing does not get all the food debris out. That is where the floss comes in. To get the best result from your dental care routine ask for tips on how to floss from your dentist or dental hygienist. 

Unpacking the tongue brush vs. scraper debate: Which one is better for you?

The ultimate question is which types of tongue scrapers are better for you. Or should you go with a tongue brush instead? Both a tongue brush and a tongue scraper are useful and beneficial tools when it comes to your oral hygiene routine. They both serve the same purpose which is tongue cleaning.

Okay, we will tell you which one is better for you. It is a personal preference in the end, but it might be a better choice to go with the tongue scraper if you:

  • have a sensitive tongue
  • are more susceptible to the gag reflex 

With a curved shape, it fits perfectly on your tongue and it is less likely for it to trigger your gag reflex. You can go with a metal tongue scraper, copper, or even a plastic one.

Some toothbrushes come with a built-in tongue scraper making it easier for you to use and it is less likely for you to forget to clean your tongue for a fresher breath.

Benefits and drawbacks: tongue brush vs tongue scraper

Benefits and drawbacks Tongue brush Tongue scraper
Sensitive gag reflex
Different types
Eco friendly
Cleaner tongue

The first and foremost drawback of tongue brush vs tongue scraper is a sensitive gag reflex. We have mentioned it before but if you are a person with a sensitive gag reflex it could be difficult for you to use either of the methods for tongue cleaning. But take your time and start small and soon you will see the effects of tongue cleaning.

Another drawback of a tongue brush could be that there are no reusable ones and you have to replace your tongue brush just like your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months. On the other hand, you can easily get yourself a reusable tongue scraper that could last you a lifetime. The key to a reusable tongue scraper is cleaning it properly.  Whether a metal tongue scraper, stainless steel, or even copper tongue scraper make sure you clean them after each use and keep them in a dry place until the next time you are using them.

Now let’s get to the benefits.

By choosing a reusable tongue scraper instead of a plastic one or a tongue brush, you can save money in the long run, and help the environment. So two birds with one stone!

But the most important benefit we could say is, it keeps your mouth healthy. Have you seen that white coating on your tongue? The methods for tongue cleaning will benefit your dental health by removing food particles, dead cells, and oral bacteria, that white coating, from between your taste buds or papillae that would cause bad breath and eventually a reduction in plaque formation as well.

Ding ding ding! The winner of this match is… wait for it… both of them! Both a tongue scraper and tongue brush are useful and beneficial tools to add to your oral care routine. So next time you are at the dentist, ask about tongue cleaners. 

For more information or to book your free consultation contact us! Our medical assistants at Dentfix will be more than happy to help you!


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Quirynen M, Avontroodt P, Soers C, Zhao H, Pauwels M, van Steenberghe D. Impact of tongue cleansers on microbial load and taste. J Clin Periodontol. 2004 Jul;31(7):506-10. doi: 10.1111/j.0303-6979.2004.00507.x. PMID: 15191584. Link

Pedrazzi V, Sato S, de Mattos Mda G, Lara EH, Panzeri H. Tongue-cleaning methods: a comparative clinical trial employing a toothbrush and a tongue scraper. J Periodontol. 2004 Jul;75(7):1009-12. doi: 10.1902/jop.2004.75.7.1009. PMID: 15341360. Link

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