Did you know that about 50% of people worldwide have bad breath? According to a 2013 paper published in the Journal of Natural Science, Biology and Medicine, about 90% of bad breath cases are caused by poor oral hygiene, which causes build-up of food, bacteria, fungi and dead cells that accumulate on the back of your tongue.
Other reasons are gum disease, tongue coat, unclean dentures, faulty restorations, oral carcinomas, and throat infections. 
However, don’t forget that following a complex oral hygiene routine: brushing teeth and flossing, cannot be replaced by tongue cleaning. This technique can only alter your oral care routine and improve your hygiene.
This article will guide you through the benefits of tongue scraping and will show you what tongue cleaning methods work best!
Let’s dive in!
Benefits of tongue scraping
Get rid of bacteria
According to a 2005 study published in the Tropical Dental Journal, using tongue scraping technique twice a day for 7 days (at least 2 minutes per day) may significantly decrease the abundance of Mutans streptococci and Lactobacilli bacteria. 
Improve oral hygiene
A 2013 study published in the International Journal of Clinical Pediatric Dentistry suggests that daily tongue scraping or brushing together with teeth brushing may significantly reduce plaque, compared to only teeth brushing. 
Improve bad breath
Evidence suggests that using a tongue scraper may reduce tongue residue (which is the main cause for bad breath) by 75% for only 1 week of daily use.  Furthermore, reducing bacterial abundance in the oral cavity may be associated with improved breath odor. 
According to the MayoClinic, tongue scraping may improve bad breath caused by tongue coating (debris and bacterial buildup).  Some of the primary factors for coated tongue include smoking, poor oral hygiene, dry mouth, infection, and use of certain medicines.
Healthier tongue color
Tongue coating may lead to discoloration of the tongue and make it look abnormally white or yellow. 
Improved taste and flavors
Evidence suggests that reducing tongue coating may improve the sensitivity of the taste buds and enhance taste sensation. 
This way, you could more easily distinguish sweet, sour, bitter, and salty taste, and enjoy the foods more. 
Immunity boost and digestion support
As tongue scraping is an Ayurvedic treatment, the Art of Living Treatment Centre suggests that apart from oral health benefits, this technique may positively affect the immune support of the body, as well as improve the digestion process (starting in the mouth). 
How to clean your tongue effectively
2019 evidence suggests that the most effective way for tongue cleaning is by scraping it regularly with a plastic cleaner, compared to brushing, using acids, and other alternative methods. 
The Cleveland Clinic suggests the following oral hygiene routine, which integrates tongue scraping  :
Stick your tongue out and gently press the scraper
Run the scraper across your tongue starting from the back and going to the front (covering all areas)
Rise your mouth with water and clean the scraper thoroughly
*If you feel you press the scraper too hard, or experience pain or damage, reduce the pressure and be more gentle.
Also, if after two weeks of daily tongue cleaning you still experience residue and unusual coating (e.g., white, yellow), consult your dentist or healthcare provider.