7 Best Tongue Scrapers of 2023, Reviewed by Experts
HomeHome > Blog > 7 Best Tongue Scrapers of 2023, Reviewed by Experts

7 Best Tongue Scrapers of 2023, Reviewed by Experts

Apr 29, 2024

We've been independently researching and testing products for over 120 years. If you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Learn more about our review process.

Fight bad breath with a new step in your dental health routine.

Although you may brush and floss your teeth every day, there might be another step to add to your oral health routine: tongue scraping. According to Dr. Leena Palomo, D.D.S., M.S.D., who serves as chair of the Dr. Arthur Ashman Department of Periodontology & Implant Dentistry at NYU, bacteria tend to hang out around the papules — a.k.a. those tiny bumps on your tongue — which can contribute to bad breath. "A tongue scraper is basically a strip of plastic or metal and you just run it along the tongue and it scrapes the bacteria and the debris right off the tongue,” she says. With the right one, you can easily tongue scrape after you brush your teeth.

To find the best tongue scrapers, we reached out to dentists and dental hygienists to ask about the importance of tongue scraping and what to look for before purchasing one. Since all tongue scrapers perform similarly, we looked at models with different materials and different shapes to suit a variety of preferences to find the best options.

After our top picks, you can find more information about what to look for in a tongue scraper and how to properly remove bacteria and debris from your mouth.

With comfortable handles that allow you to adjust the scraper's angle to fit your tongue, Dr. Tung’s Stainless Tongue Scraper is a top pick recommended by dentists, according to the brand. The curved, stainless steel bar makes it easy to scrape the width of your tongue from back to front, effectively removing bacteria and debris. That said, some reviewers say it can be a bit tricky to reach the back of your mouth. The metal is easy to clean after each use with a little toothpaste, so it won’t end up smelling like bad breath over time. We also like that it comes with a storage pouch for traveling.

Coming in a budget-friendly two-pack, these scrapers are made of surgical-grade stainless steel. The head is wide (1.4 inches in width) but not oversized, which allows you to scrape in sections and reach the back of your mouth more easily. One side of the head is curved to scoop up a large amount of debris while the other side is smoother for a more gentle scrape. These scrapers are on the smaller side and can be cleaned by soaking in lemon water or using denture tablets, per the manufacturer.

Outfitted with small bristles and textured nubs, this small plastic scraper is designed to help you to scrub away any debris. The smoother scraping side is more effective at removing any of that bad-breath bacteria from your tongue than the back of a toothbrush. It’s made of plastic, which is ideal for people who don’t like the taste or feel of metal. But that also means it needs to be replaced more frequently compared to a metal tongue scraper. It also has a long handle to get to those hard-to-reach places but the head is narrow to prevent gagging.

These one-and-done plastic scrapers offer the same clean as other tongue scrapers, but you can toss them afterward, making them the most sanitary option. At 8 inches long, this tongue cleaner gently removes bacteria all the way from the back of your tongue to prevent bad breath. As a bonus, there's an included bendable toothpick in the base of each scraper. While they're disposable, they are made with recyclable plastic, according to the brand.

Made of medical-grade stainless steel, this two-pack of tongue scrapers from MasterMedi is a great choice. They're easy to clean with a little toothpaste and the U-shaped design is gentle, yet effective at removing that white film off the entirety of your tongue in one fell swoop. It also comes with two carrying cases, so you can always designate one as your travel scraper. With built-in steel handles, it can be bent a bit to make the U smaller to target different parts of the tongue. But it's wider than many others out there, so it may feel too large if you have a smaller mouth.

Kids that struggle with bad breath can use these tongue scrapers designed for their smaller mouths without too much struggle. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tongue brushing can also be helpful in reducing cavities in minors. It’s shaped like a toothbrush with bristles on the low-profile head that creates a gentle scrubbing sensation. You could also add toothpaste or gel to help remove any of the odor-causing bacteria on the tongue. Be sure to remind your kiddos to wash them afterward, too!

The thicker handles on the BOKA gives you a solid hold for scraping your tongue with the U-shaped stainless steel metal. The curved shape is gentle on your tongue to effectively remove buildup and freshen your breath. It’s not as long as some of the other scrapers on this list, but can still give a good cleaning and is less likely to trigger your gag reflex. It also includes a linen travel pouch for storage, and you can opt for a three-month delivery subscription to save 20%. It's a great reminder to replace it regularly.

To choose the best tongue scrapers, we consulted dentists that know a thing or two about dental hygiene, as well as researched models of different shapes, materials and price points. When choosing tongue scrapers we considered factors such as:

✔️ Material: The two materials commonly used to make tongue scrapers that we recommend considering are stainless steel and plastic. Stainless steel is the most common material because it’s bendable, durable and easy to clean. Plastic is more affordable and doesn’t have a metallic taste but needs to be disposed of more frequently.

“I prefer the stainless steel ones because they’re more antibacterial,” says Dr. Lilya Horowitz, D.D.S., F.A.G.D., a dentist and owner of Domino Dental. “But it really depends on your comfort level.”

Copper is also a commonly used material in tongue scrapers, but we don't recommend them. According to Birnur Aral, Executive Director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty, Health & Sustainability Lab, copper can be toxic if swallowed.

✔️ Handle: We looked into the size of the handle and the material to determine how comfortable it would be to hold. While most people aren’t tongue scraping for very long, without a proper grasp of the handle it can be challenging to target different areas on the tongue.

✔️ Shape: You'll likely see two common shapes: U-shaped scrapers can run down the tongue in one swipe but because they're wider, it can be harder to target the back of the month. They have two handles which allow for better dexterity. Smaller single-hand scrapers that resemble a toothbrush are useful for targeting different parts of the tongue but require more individual scraps, making the process take longer. Because they're smaller, they also allow you to reach back further into your mouth to target the back of the tongue. Just be careful not to trigger your gag reflex!

✔️ Ease of Cleaning: You should always wash your tongue scraper after each use with toothpaste and hot water. Some brands also suggest soaking them in denture cleaner or mouthwash.

✔️ Brushes: Some tongue scrapers have added bristles to scrub your tongue. While scraping is more effective at pulling the bacteria off your tongue, brushing can give the feeling of cleanliness and can be used to remove any stuck-on debris.

✔️ Case: If you plan to travel with your tongue scraper, getting one with a travel case will ensure it remains sanitary. If your scraper doesn’t come with one, you can always place it in a plastic baggie when on the go.

✔️ Age: Think about the age and the size of the month using the scraper. A larger U-shape scraper might be challenging for kids to hold and run across their tongues. Metal options also might be too abrasive for those with sensitive tongues.

✔️ Sensitivity: If you don’t like the feeling of metal on your tongue, it's best to opt for a plastic option. Additionally, those with a sensitive gag reflex should avoid smaller scrapers that can reach too far back on their tongue.

A tongue scraper seems pretty straightforward — simply run the scraper along the tongue to remove a film of bacteria and debris. “They help remove the bacteria on the surface of the tongue,” Dr. Horowitz says. “It also sometimes helps remove that white coating from the tongue. It helps with bad breath because the bad breath is caused by the bacteria.”

To use a tongue scraper, hold it by the handles and place it on the narrowest, rounded part near the back of your tongue. Then, gently pull it towards the tip of your tongue without pushing down too hard to pull the debris forward. Wipe the scraper with a tissue or run it under water to clear the debris and repeat if necessary.

According to Dr. Horowitz, you can tongue scrape twice a day as part of your tooth brushing routine, but once a day should also be fine. Just be sure to wash your tongue scraper after each use. Additionally, you should replace your plastic tongue scraper every three months, says Dr. Palomo, just as you would with a toothbrush.

“Just like whether you should brush first or floss first, the same sort of argument exists around tongue scraping," Dr. Palomo says. The goal of tongue scraping is to remove both bacteria and debris, which can be brought to the tongue through brushing and flossing. That’s why she recommends using it as the last step in your oral hygiene routine.

This roundup was written by contributing writer Courtney Campbell, a longtime product reviewer, who selected products based on hours of research and interviews with dental health experts.

Courtney (she/hers) has spent the past 5 years testing everything from reusable straws to standing desks to homemade kombucha kits. A longtime reviewer, deals hunter, and lifestyle writer, she currently heads up the American Kennel Club's product review site Retrievest and previously worked as the Shopping Editor for USA Today’s Reviewed. Additionally, she has covered design and lifestyle trends for Apartment Therapy, Domino, SELF, and more. A graduate of Elon University, she loves telling everyone about what race she’s planning on running next while raving about her favorite running headphones (they’re bone conducting!).

18 Best Dark Spot Correctors

Best Solar Christmas Lights of 2023

8 Best Humidifiers for Babies of 2023

10 Best Whitening Mouthwashes of 2023

The Best Mugs for Coffee and Tea 2023

7 Best Cold Press Juicers You Can Buy

10 Best Recliners of 2023

The Best Jeans for Petite Women 2023

12 Best Drip Coffee Makers 2023

10 Couches for Kids

8 Best Vacuums for Hardwood Floors

10 Best Kitchen Trash Cans of 2023

you just run it along the tongue and it scrapes the bacteria and the debris right offwe reached out to dentists and dental hygienists curved, stainless steel bar makes it easy to scrape the width of your tongueThe head is wide (1.4 inches in width) but not oversized ssmall bristles and textured nubs, this small plastic scraper is designed to help you to scrub away any debristoss them afterward, making them the most sanitary optionmedical-grade stainless steel these tongue scrapers designed for their smaller mouths without too much struggleyou can opt for a three-month delivery subscription to save 20%. Material: Handle: Shape:Ease of CleaningBrushes: Case: Age:Sensitivity: