cleaning has been advocated to improve oral malodor and to reduce
reinfection of periodontal niches by eliminating tongue coating and/or
reducing putrefaction by bacteria.
Material and Methods:
cross-over, single-blind study on periodontitis-free, non-smoking,
subjects with habitual oral hygiene (n516), evaluated the effect of
tongue cleaning (with either plastic scraper or nylon multi-tufted
toothbrush), on the microbial load of the tongue dorsum (anterior and
posterior of the sulcus terminalis), the extent of tongue coating, and
taste sensation for bitter, sweet, salt, and sour. Both devices had been
used twice daily for 2 weeks (toothbrush three forward–backward
movements along the linea mediana and for each longitudinal third of the
tongue; two strokes with the scraper along the linea mediana and along
the borders of the tongue).
weeks of tongue brushing or scraping resulted in only negligible
reductions in aerobic and anaerobic bacteria on the tongue (reductions
o0.5 log). The amount of tongue coating, however, decreased
significantly (po0.05), with both devices. The taste sensation improved
after 2 weeks of tongue cleaning, especially with the scraper
(significant improvements for quinine and sodium chloride).
Tongue cleaning improves taste sensation and seems to reduce the substrata for putrefaction, rather than the bacterial load.