In the past several years, dental professionals (dentists and hygienists) have studied the importance of tongue cleaning as a way to maintain a high level of oral hygiene.
In addition, physicians have re-evaluated the link between oral health and pathologies of the rest of the body. Many clinical studies concluded that oral bacteria are associated with a number of serious systemic diseases.
The surface of the tongue may be viewed as an excellent breeding ground for different bacteria. These microorganisms colonize and multiply on the protein-rich areas of the tongue, and eventually, through the saliva, reach all areas of the mouth including the teeth and gums. These bacteria are considered as major contributors to periodontal problems, plaque on the teeth, tooth decay, gum infections, gum recession and even tooth loss.
Tongue cleaning may remove some of the millions of bacteria (up to 500 different types), decaying food debris, fungi (such as Candida), and dead cells, from the rear surface of the tongue. Tongue cleaning is generally viewed as an effective solution for many cases of halitosis, or bad breath.
Some limited studies have shown tongue bacteria produce malodorous compounds and fatty acids, that may account for 80 to 95 percent of all cases of bad breath.The remaining 5–20% of cases originate in the stomach, from the tonsils, from decaying food stuck between the teeth, gum disease, tooth decay, or plaque accumulated on the teeth. br>
Clinical studies have shown that using tongue cleaners on a daily basis has a significant effect on eliminating anaerobic bacteria and decreasing oral malodor
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Tongue cleaning was performed by the Romans, and was recorded in Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Ayurveda, the practice of traditional Indian medicine, recommends tongue cleaning as part of one's daily hygiene regimen, to remove the toxic debris, known as Ama. Tongue scrapers are common drugstore items in Pakistan.