How to clean your tongue without gagging

Updated March 17, 2017

The top of the tongue is coated with millions of organisms which trap food and debris. If not removed, this debris begins to putrefy, which results in bad breath and, in some cases, tooth decay. Cleaning your tongue helps clear the mouth of this debris. Despite this fact, some people view one aspect of cleaning the tongue as a deterrent. Placing an object on the tongue in an attempt to clean it can result in gagging, but using the correct tools and technique can reduce your chances of gagging.

Open your mouth and stick your tongue out as far as possible. Force yourself to breathe through your nose rather than your mouth. Continue to focus on your breathing as you clean your tongue.

Place the tongue scraper on the back left side of the tongue. Press down gently on the scraper so that it causes the tongue to flatten.

Slowly pull the scraper forward across the surface of the tongue until you reach the tip of the tongue. Place the scraper under a stream of water to clear it of debris.

Place the scraper on the back middle section of the tongue. Repeat the scraping process and rinse the scraper. Place the tongue scraper in the back right corner of the tongue and repeat the process.

Repeat cleaning each section of the tongue until you no longer notice debris on the scraper when removed.

Rinse the scraper with hot water and dry it with a clean paper towel. Store it for future use.


Cleaning your tongue on a daily basis will make you less prone to gagging.

Things You'll Need

  • Tongue scraper
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About the Author

Based in Atlanta, Renee Kristi has been writing since 2001 and her work now appears on various websites. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Spelman College and a Juris Doctor from Georgia State University College of Law.