The 8 Best Tongue Scrapers of 2020

Keep your tongue and breath fresh

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First Look

Best Overall: Dr. Tung’s Tongue Cleaner at Amazon

"Made of a single piece of stainless steel, this cleaner scrapes the top layer of your tongue to effectively remove dead cells."

Best Budget: Basic Concepts Tongue Scraper 2-Pack at Amazon

"A 2-pack of powerful cleaners at the cost of one high-quality scraper, its stainless steel material makes for easy cleaning."

Best Scraper & Brush Combo: GUM Dual Action Tongue Cleaner Brush and Scraper at Amazon

"Don’t choose between brushing or scraping your tongue—do both with this double-sided option that provides double the cleanliness."

Best for Bad Breath: Orabrush Tongue Cleaner at Amazon

"A unique mashup of micro-pointed bristles and a scraping edge results in a maximum banishing of bad breath and bacteria."

Best for Kids: 55 Dental Kids Tongue Cleaner at Amazon

"Kids will actually want to clean their tongues with this cute and brightly-colored plastic scraper that's perfect for tiny hands."

Best Disposable: BreathRx Tongue Scraper at Amazon

"You get nine disposable flexible scrapers in this pack, making them the perfect option for one-time, on-the-go cleaning."

Best for White Tongue: MasterMedi Tongue Scraper at Amazon

"Made from heavy-gauge stainless steel, this tool is designed to effectively clean your tongue minus the irritation or gag reflex."

Best for Hairy Tongue: DenTek Tongue Cleaner at Amazon

"Three scraping edges make this plastic choice an alternative to stainless steel without sacrificing cleanliness or effectiveness."

You’ve probably been told your whole life to take good care of your mouth by brushing and flossing every day and having your teeth cleaned by a dental hygienist every six months. But what about your tongue? Most of us neglect this very important muscle, even though it sits right there inside our mouths all day collecting bacteria.

Is brushing your teeth enough to keep your tongue clean? Unfortunately, no. You really need to be cleaning your tongue separately in some way, either by brushing it with your toothbrush or using a tongue scraper.

“The tongue is technically the biggest single object in our mouths and it is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, especially the kind that causes bad breath,” says Marianna Weiner, D.D.S., a Brooklyn-based cosmetic dentist, who adds that cleaning your tongue also helps remove dead skin and debris that builds up over time—which means your tongue will look and feel healthier. 

Whether you suffer from bad breath, have a persistent white coating on your tongue, want to improve your oral health, or simply like the feeling of an ultra-fresh mouth, a tongue scraper is a good way to get a deep clean on one of the hardest working (and dirtiest) muscles in your body. Here are eight of our favorites for 2020.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Dr. Tung’s Tongue Cleaner

Dr. Tung's Tongue Cleaner

 Courtesy of Amazon

At first glance, this tongue cleaner looks like quite the contraption. Made of a single, U-shaped piece of stainless steel, the cleaner is meant to be placed at the back of your tongue and then gently pulled forward. It’s this forward motion that scrapes the top layer of your tongue, removing dead cells and bacteria.

It’s small, portable, and ultra-hygienic (stainless steel is often easier to disinfect than other materials), and also features two soft-grip handles for ease-of-use. It’s Dr. Weiner’s top pick thanks to its cost-effectiveness and the fact that it does what it advertises very well.

“While durable and easy to clean thanks to the material it is made of, it is also gentle enough to do the job carefully and effectively,” she explains. Any tongue scraper that simultaneously gets high marks for durability, affordability, and gentleness is a win in our book.

Best Budget: Basic Concepts Tongue Scraper 2-Pack

If you like the look and feel of a stainless steel tongue scraper but want to get more for your money, this option from Basic Concepts delivers on both fronts: it’s powerful, effective, and you actually get two of them for the cost of one high quality scraper, making it a budget-friendly pick.

Styled differently from Dr. Tung’s version, this cleaner features a small U-shape scraper at the end of a handle; it works more like a toothbrush, with a single-handed operation, to remove buildup on your tongue.

These scrapers are made from medical grade stainless steel—making them durable and easy to clean—and are also guaranteed never to rust. You can keep one at home and one in your travel bag, or give one to your spouse as a reminder to take good care of their oral health, too.

Best Scraper & Brush Combo: GUM Dual Action Tongue Cleaner Brush and Scraper

Can’t decide whether you would rather brush or scrape away all of the funk on your tongue? With this GUM 2-in-1 tool, you don’t have to. This double-sided cleaner does both: one side of the head features two rows of plastic ridges for scraping while the other side has two rows of bristles for brushing. 

Made of plastic for steel-averse consumers, the tool has a narrow head—making it a breeze to comfortably reach those hard-to-reach places—and a soft-grip handle to make sure you’re in full control of the tool while you’re using it.

Brush one day, scrape the next, or rotate the head around with every tongue cleaning, spending some time doing both. Whatever you choose, there’s literally no way your tongue won’t be clean afterward, we promise.

Best for Bad Breath: Orabrush Tongue Cleaner

If you’re looking for a scraper that works more like a toothbrush (but with a little extra cleaning power), the Orabrush tongue cleaner is the perfect compromise. It has micro-pointed bristles for deep cleaning, but you don’t “brush” your tongue with them: you scrape the bristles along the surface, essentially loosening and lifting up all the gunk, and let the scraper-styled edge of the tool finish the job. 

Experts don’t think that tongue scraping can permanently defeat bad breath, but it seems to work well as a short-term solution. The mashup of features here means you’re getting as much cleaning and bad breath-defeating power as possible. It’s also one of Dr. Weiner’s top picks thanks to this unique design. 

“This tongue scraper is made to most closely resemble a toothbrush [and has] many little bristles that scrape along the surface,” she explains. “This design, combined with the scraping motion, has proven to be quite effective, reportedly leaving a clean sensation for longer than expected.”

Best for Kids: 55 Dental Kids Tongue Cleaner

The best time to introduce good oral habits is at a young age. The healthier your mouth is, the easier it is to sit through regular dental visits (because a cleaner mouth means less plaque-removal, cavity-filling, and overall pain at those six-month appointments).

If you’re not already teaching your kids to clean their tongues as well as their teeth, you’re missing out on an important opportunity for oral health, says Dr. Weiner. “It’s never too early to teach someone the importance of fresh breath and how to achieve it: not just by brushing our teeth, but our tongues as well,” she says.

All kids love a good gadget, right? We’re pretty sure they would love getting the super-cute tongue scraper by 55 Dental Kids, which not only does a good job of cleaning their tongues but has a fun design, comes in four bright colors, and includes a smiley-face cover for safekeeping when not in use. It’s made of soft plastic for comfort and, Dr. Weiner adds, is very easy for little hands to manipulate.

Best Disposable: BreathRx Tongue Scraper

If you want to start scraping your tongue but the thought of cleaning one more thing in your daily personal care arsenal has you stressed, stop right there. You don’t have to sacrifice oral hygiene for your sanity—you just need to choose disposable scrapers, not reusable ones.

This package of disposable scrapers might not look like much, but reviewers say they work just as well as the reusable kind, effectively cleaning and leaving behind fresher breath and cleaner tongues. You get nine of these slim, flexible scrapers all individually wrapped in cellophane, making them a stellar choice for anyone wanting easy, on-the-go tongue scraping.

In other words, if you can’t or don’t want to deal with the task of regularly cleaning your tongue scraper (you’re traveling, you’re busy, you need a stash to keep in your work desk), this disposable option is the way to go.

Best for White Tongue: MasterMedi Tongue Scraper

Most of us have had this problem at one time or another, because white tongues are a pretty common thing. Smoking, slacking off on your oral hygiene, not drinking enough water, and even illness can cause the little bumps on your tongue to become enlarged and trap an excess amount of debris, giving it a white appearance.

If you’re battling a bad case of white tongue, you need a tongue scraper that can clean deeply without causing any further irritation (because swollen tongue bumps are what got you here in the first place, remember?) 

The tongue scraper by MasterMedi really shines in this category: made from heavy-gauge stainless steel, it’s not likely to leave any debris behind—but it’s also flexible enough to twist and turn however you need it to, cleaning all the random nooks and crannies on your tongue. It’s constructed to be ultra-smooth, so it shouldn’t irritate your tongue further, and even features an anti-gagging ridge for way-far-back cleaning without the discomfort.

Best for Hairy Tongue: DenTek Tongue Cleaner

Similar to white tongue-sufferers, people with hairy tongue have enlarged bumps, or papillae, on the surface of their tongues, which trap a visible amount of dead skin cells, debris, and bacteria. But while people with white tongue have swollen papillae, people with hairy tongue have papillae that grow overly long, giving the surface of the tongue a hairy appearance (so no, you don’t actually have hair growing on your tongue—it just looks that way!).

Either way, overgrown or enlarged papillae looks unpleasant, feels unpleasant, and sets you up for chronic bad breath (i.e. halitosis) down the line if that gunk is left to fester. Nobody wants that, and the handle-style DenTek tongue cleaner is a solid choice for making sure it doesn’t happen. 

“DenTek’s option has three scraping edges to further encourage dead cell removal, and it also has a mint flavoring [that is faint when used] but it leaves an overall impression of freshness that lasts for days afterwards,” says Dr. Weiner, who recommends this product as a strong alternative to stainless steel scrapers.

Final Verdict

Dr. Tung’s Tongue Cleaner is Dr. Weiner’s favorite—and an all-around quality tool that’s easy to use. If you prefer a plastic scraper, the DenTek Tongue Cleaner is a good stainless steel alternative. For fans of 2-in-1 products, the GUM Dual Action Tongue Cleaner Brush and Scraper gets the job done in multiple ways.

What to Look for in Tongue Scrapers

Material: “Purchasing a tongue scraper is as unique an experience as purchasing the right toothbrush,” says Dr. Weiner, who encourages consumers to think about whether they would prefer stainless steel versus plastic when choosing a scraper. Both types will work effectively, but some people don’t like the feeling of metal in their mouth (and others may need something more heavy-duty than plastic).

Ease of Use: If you can’t easily manipulate the scraper along the length of your tongue—remember, it has to reach all the way to the very back of your mouth—then it’s not the right scraper for you. The best option is the one you can use easily and frequently, without hassle or discomfort.

Style: Some scrapers are U- or V-shaped, while others feature a small scraper at the end of a handle (more like a toothbrush). One style doesn’t work better than the other, but you might personally find one is more comfortable for you.

Why Trust Verywell Health

Sarah Bradley has been writing health content since 2017—everything from product roundups and illness FAQs to nutrition explainers and the dish on diet trends. She knows how important it is to receive trustworthy and expert-approved advice about over-the-counter products that manage everyday health conditions, from GI issues and allergies to chronic headaches and joint pain.

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Article Sources
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  1. Salinas, T., 2018. Bad Breath: Could A Tongue Scraper Help?. [online] Mayo Clinic.

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