How to Clean Your Tongue the Right Way: 6 Complete Steps for Fresh Breath

by | May 16, 2023

Do you wake up with bad breath even after brushing your teeth the night before? If so, the culprit might be hiding on your tongue. Cleaning your tongue is an essential step in maintaining fresh breath and optimal oral health. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the importance of cleaning your tongue, the best techniques to clean your tongue, and answer some frequently asked questions along the way. Say goodbye to bad breath and hello to a clean, healthy tongue!

clean your tongue

The Importance of a Clean Tongue

Having a clean tongue goes beyond just freshening your breath. It plays a significant role in maintaining overall oral health. Your tongue is covered with tiny papillae, which can trap bacteria, food particles, and dead cells. If not properly cleaned, these can lead to bad breath, oral infections, and even affect your taste buds. Therefore, dedicating a few minutes of your daily oral hygiene routine to clean your tongue is crucial.

How to Clean Your Tongue the Right Way

Cleaning your tongue is a simple process, but it requires the right tools and techniques to be effective. Follow these steps to ensure you clean your tongue thoroughly:

1. Choose a Tongue Cleaner

To clean your tongue effectively, invest in a tongue cleaner or scraper. These tools are specifically designed to remove bacteria and debris from the surface of your tongue. They are usually made of plastic or metal, and some even have bristles for a more thorough clean. Select a tongue cleaner that feels comfortable in your hand and has a gentle but effective cleaning surface.

Our recommendations for Tongue Cleaners:

clean your tongue

2. Prepare Your Mouth

Before you begin cleaning your tongue, it’s essential to rinse your mouth with water. This will help remove any loose particles and create a clean surface for the tongue cleaner. Gently swish the water around your mouth for a few seconds and then spit it out.

3. Position the Tongue Cleaner

Hold the tongue cleaner with both hands and extend it toward the back of your tongue. Position it as far back as comfortable without causing discomfort or triggering your gag reflex. Remember, the back of the tongue tends to accumulate the most bacteria and debris, so be thorough in this area.

4. Scrape Your Tongue

With the tongue cleaner in position, apply gentle pressure and drag it forward along your tongue’s surface. Use a single, smooth motion, and avoid applying too much pressure to prevent any injuries. You will notice that the tongue cleaner removes a thin, whitish layer from your tongue. That’s the buildup of bacteria and debris that you’re effectively removing.

5. Rinse and Repeat

After each scrape, rinse the tongue cleaner under running water to remove the accumulated residue. Then, repeat the scraping process, moving from the back of your tongue towards the tip. Aim for a total of four to five scrapes, ensuring you cover the entire surface of your tongue.

6. Rinse Your Mouth

Once you finish cleaning your tongue, rinse your mouth thoroughly with water. Swish it around to remove any remaining debris or bacteria that may have been dislodged during the cleaning process. Spit out the water and take a moment to enjoy the feeling of a clean tongue.

We recommend also rinsing your mouth with a good non-alcohol mouthwash prior to scraping your tongue.

clean your tongue

FAQs about Cleaning Your Tongue

How often should I clean my tongue?

It is recommended to clean your tongue at least once a day, preferably in the morning before brushing your teeth. This helps remove the overnight buildup of bacteria and ensures fresh breath throughout the day.

Can I use a toothbrush instead of a tongue cleaner?

While a toothbrush can help remove some debris from the surface of your tongue, it is not as effective as a tongue cleaner specifically designed for this purpose. Toothbrush bristles are typically designed to clean the smooth surface of teeth and may not reach the crevices of your tongue where bacteria tend to accumulate. Therefore, using a dedicated tongue cleaner or scraper is recommended for a more thorough cleaning.

Should I clean my tongue before or after brushing my teeth?

It is generally recommended to clean your tongue before brushing your teeth. By doing so, you remove the bacteria and debris from your tongue, allowing the toothpaste and toothbrush to work more effectively on your teeth. Additionally, cleaning your tongue beforehand helps freshen your breath and leaves your mouth feeling cleaner overall.

Can I use mouthwash to clean my tongue?

While mouthwash can be a valuable addition to your oral hygiene routine, it is not sufficient on its own to clean your tongue thoroughly. Mouthwash primarily targets the bacteria in your mouth and may not effectively remove the layer of debris on your tongue. It is best to use a tongue cleaner or scraper in combination with mouthwash for optimal results.

Is tongue cleaning necessary if I brush my teeth regularly?

Yes, tongue cleaning is still necessary even if you brush your teeth regularly. Brushing your teeth alone does not effectively remove the bacteria and debris that accumulate on the surface of your tongue. By incorporating tongue cleaning into your routine, you ensure a more comprehensive oral hygiene practice and reduce the risk of bad breath and oral health issues.

Can cleaning my tongue improve my sense of taste?

Yes, cleaning your tongue can improve your sense of taste. When the taste buds on your tongue are coated with bacteria and debris, they may become less sensitive to flavors. By cleaning your tongue regularly, you remove the buildup and allow your taste buds to function optimally, enhancing your ability to taste and enjoy food.


Maintaining a clean tongue is vital for fresh breath and optimal oral health. By following the steps outlined in this guide and incorporating tongue cleaning into your daily oral hygiene routine, you can effectively remove bacteria and debris, reduce the risk of bad breath, and improve your overall oral health. Remember, consistency is key, so make tongue cleaning a habit for a healthier mouth and a more enjoyable dining experience.

Unleash the Power of the Oral-B Pro 1000!

clean your tongue

Do you ever dream of a brighter, cleaner, and healthier smile? Well, stop dreaming and start brushing with the Oral-B Pro 1000 Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush!

This isn’t just any old toothbrush; it’s like having a dental hygienist on standby in your bathroom. With a brush head that rotates, oscillates and pulsates to break up and remove more plaque than a regular manual toothbrush, it’s the secret weapon you need in your oral care arsenal.

clean your tongue

But the magic doesn’t stop there! The Oral-B Pro 1000 ensures you’re brushing like a pro, thanks to its in-handle timer that pulses every 30 seconds, telling you when to switch areas of the mouth. After two minutes, you’ll have given your teeth the dentist-recommended brushing time. So, say goodbye to guesswork and hello to a more effective brushing routine!

clean your tongue

Worried about being too hard on your pearly whites? Fear not! The Oral-B Pro 1000 has a pressure sensor that stops the pulsation movements if you brush too hard, protecting your gums from over-brushing.

And the cherry on top? This magnificent gadget is rechargeable, ensuring you’re never left in the lurch. The Oral-B Pro 1000‘s battery life lasts up to seven days, so it’s perfect even for those unexpected business trips or weekend getaways!

clean your tongue

You deserve a dental care routine that works as hard as you do. So why wait? Upgrade your oral health game with the Oral-B Pro 1000 Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush today and flash the world that dazzling smile you’ve always dreamed of!

Remember, your smile is your greatest accessory, and the Oral-B Pro 1000 is your best tool to keep it sparkling. Don’t miss out; get yours today!

clean your tongue

Dr. Michael N. Koumas DDS, PC.


If you’re in need of a skilled and experienced dentist in Newburgh, NY, I highly recommend Dr. Michael N. Koumas. With over 23 years of serving the community, Dr. Koumas has earned a reputation for providing top-quality dental care in a comfortable and welcoming environment.  His office is conveniently located at 4 Hudson Valley Professional Plaza in Newburgh, NY 12550, right across from Market 32 and his team is dedicated to helping patients achieve optimal oral health through personalized and compassionate care.

Whether you need routine cleanings, fillings, or more complex dental procedures, Dr. Koumas and his team are committed to providing the best possible dental care to their patients. Don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment today by calling (845) 562-1108 and experience the difference that Dr. Koumas can make in your oral health.

Dr. Michael N. Koumas DDS, PC.
General and Cosmetic Dentistry
Address: 4 Hudson Valley Professional Plaza, Newburgh, NY 12550
Phone: (845) 562-1108


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