Dentists affirm that just like brushing our teeth, we should always add the extra step of cleaning the tongue to our daily routine. This is important, according to experts, noting that it is one way of getting rid of extra particles including what could possibly lead to bad breath. At the back of toothbrushes, dentists say, are tongue cleaners one can use to clean their tongue. Alternatively, there are also some specific tongue scrapers made from plastic, copper, and stainless steel, with a slightly rounded shape of an inverted spoon. Dr Gonzalue Niyigaba, a dentist at University Teaching Hospital of Kigali (CHUK), says tongue scraping improves its appearance. He says that it’s quite common to see people with a white tongue, which is an indication that they do not clean it. “Scraping can help remove the build-ups on the tongue and at the same time prevent it from recurring. The practice also helps to improve your oral health and overall wellness,” he says. He goes on to explain that when it comes to improving overall health, scraping helps remove bacteria, which is key to preventing cavities, gum disease, and other conditions affecting the mouth in general. Dr Pacific Nkusi, a dentist working at King Faisal Hospital, says with a deposit of white stuff on your tongue, at times it’s easy for one to lose the sense of taste, and even the freshness of your breath. For oral health, he explains that naturally, the mouth is filled with microbes, and some of them are helpful whereas others cause tooth decay, gum disease as well as plaque build-up. Dr Nkusi says that it has been established that brushing and flossing teeth help get rid of harmful bacteria, but bad bacteria can build up on your tongue, too. This build-up may be removed easily by adapting to the culture of scraping the tongue, which can’t be achieved by only brushing. In addition to this, Dr Nkusi says there is also a feeling of freshness after scraping the tongue, adding that bad breath can be a symptom of poor oral care. He says that studies indicate that when food is allowed to collect on the tongue, teeth, and gums, it rots, causing an unpleasant odour and taste in the mouth. Meanwhile, brushing and flossing regularly have been proven to be ideal for fresh breath. However, certain bacteria on the back of the tongue can interact with foods and produce smelly sulphur compounds. For this reason, scraping is the way to remove bacteria your toothbrush and floss can’t reach.