If you've ever seen a tongue scraper in action, you may have wondered what exactly is coming off of the tongue when someone uses such a device to clean it. Among other things, halitosis-causing bacteria get removed when people use tongue scrapers.
A recent literature review in the International Journal of Dental Hygiene found five articles dealing with the effectiveness of tongue scrapers. The authors, who hailed from the Academic Center for Dentistry in Amsterdam, determined that these devices do appear to reduce oral odor, when used as directed.
A tongue scraper works by pulling dead dells, food particles, mucus and live bacteria off of the back of the tongue, one of the prime breeding grounds for odor-causing microbes. Even compared to brushing the tongue with a toothbrush, tongue scrapers appear to win out.
A paper in the Journal of Periodontology found that people who used tongue scrapers reduced their halitosis levels by 75 percent, compared to 45 percent for those that used toothbrushes on their tongues.
A number of specialty tongue scrapers are available online, as are other odor-neutralizing breath freshening products.