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I remember learning at some point in college about how halitosis (chronic bad breath) was made into a household name by mouthwash advertising over a hundred years ago. People who had never given much thought to how their breath smelled suddenly had something new to be self-conscious about. Even you if you didn’t know your breath smelled awful, the advertising assured you that everyone else knew it.
This is something I have always quietly worried about, because we all know those people, right? People whose breath is consistently bad and we hate when they lean in to talk to us. I have been secretly terrified that I am one of those people! So I brush, mouth rinse, floss (nowhere near as often as I am supposed to) and hope it is working. And then I see this…and I have something new to be self-conscious about.
Orabrush is a tongue cleaner produced by Dentek, a brand founded in California in 1984 that makes various oral care products. Their advertising campaign has used some thoroughly modern means to get the word out: an introductory video on Youtube has been watched almost 19 million times. In their ads and on their site, they inform the public that bad breath is not primarily caused by a failure to clean the teeth, but is in fact coming mostly from bacteria and debris on the tongue! 90% of bad breath, as a matter of fact.
So for myself and everyone else who wants to be sure people like talking to us face to face, this just might be a necessity.
The Dentek Orabrush features a cluster of soft, “micro-pointed” bristles made of plastic on the flat surface at its head, with a blunt tongue scraper just above the bristles. The handle arm of the brush can be bent similarly to a toothbrush. For the fashion-conscious folks out there, you can choose from among 7 different colors. Orabrush recommends changing to a new brush after 3-4 months of use, so just make sure to switch it out every time you swap out your toothbrush.
Brushing your tongue with a toothbrush does not adequately clean your tongue. The toothbrush’s bristles are only designed to clean the flat smooth surface of a tooth instead of the thick layer of mucus that builds up on the back of the gonue.
The tongue is described as something “like a shag carpet” at the microscopic level, and hiding all sorts of tiny gunk in its cracks and crevices. The tiny pointed bristles of the Orabrush pull it all out on the surface, and then the tongue scraper at the end of the brush is used to collect all the gunk. Gross!
Dentek also offers a supplementary tongue gel which can be squirted onto the brush before cleaning. The cleaner is flavored to make the experience of tongue scraping more pleasant, but big selling point is that it also contains hydrogen peroxide to kill bacteria.
The packaging is very similar to a toothbrush: a cardboard back with the brush under a clear bubbled plastic. The back of the box shows some printed endorsements from medical experts for emphasis on the product’s effectiveness.
The directions say to moisten the tongue, then gently brush several times with the bristles before reaching the scraper to the back of the tongue and swiping it forward to remove the residue loosened up from brushing. They warn not to press too firmly, as that may damage tongue tissue. I like tasting things, so I tried not to damage my tongue tissue!
A problem for me is I seem to have a pretty sensitive gag reflex. Even watching their tutorial, (they have a tutorial on how to brush and scrape) I was gagging watching a stranger put the scraper at the back of their tongue. The bristles felt fine; they were soft and pliable and did not hurt at all. But I had a real problem with scraping forward from the back of my mouth. I am, in fact, almost gagging now typing about it.
So did it work? Well, there is definitely some white goop on the brush. I asked my wife her thoughts and she certainly seemed to think my breath had improved. Plenty of users have noted a significant increase in breath related issues as well. I’d say with a strong degree of certainty that the Orabrush Tongue Cleaner will help get rid of bad breath.
Cost would definitely be a factor for a person deciding whether to add the Orabrush to their daily hygiene routine. It costs a bit more than a normal toothbrush and has to be replaced just as often. If you used the gel or foam they market along with it, the practice would get yet more expensive. Tongue scrapers made out of stainless steel are easily available, and those do not have to replaced if they are cleaned consistently. Generally speaking, it’s still a pretty small price to pay to remove bad breath entirely.
I would also add that a person who gags easily might not enjoy using this. I suppose that person could become more accustomed to it over time. Even with a pretty bad gag reflex I didn’t have major issues when it came to actually using the brush, but it might be good to test brushing the back of your tongue with a toothbrush first to make sure it’s something you could do everyday.
Orabrush Tongue Cleaner Wrap Up
There is a greater confidence just in knowing you have done something to cleanse your bad breath, even if you were not sure it was there. For someone with with concerns about having halitosis, this tongue scraper could be the answer. Despite your constant brushing, flossing and rinsing efforts, the back of your tongue may be the big issue when it comes to bad breath. The Orabrush Tongue Cleaner might very well be the tool to help with that.