As a child you probably remember your parents nagging you to brush your teeth. As a child you might not have seen the importance, but hopefully as you have gotten older you understand why.
Hey, if you are anything like me, a visit to the dentist today still gets a gentle reminder to brush better!
I bet though your parents never told you to brush your tongue?
No, mine didn’t either.
However with up to 90% of bad breath cases being traced back to the tongue, it is somewhat surprising we were not encouraged and still are not today (from my observations) to clean that tongue.
Orabrush is in part a solution to this issue. Whilst it requires you to do the brushing, it has been designed to be more effective at cleaning the tongue than your regular toothbrush.
- Soft, tongue-friendly, deep clean brush helps cure bad breath (Halitosis)
- Built-in 'gunk' scraper
- Requires no gel, paste or chemicals
- Fresh breath for up to 12 hours
- Lasts months - as long as your toothbrush
Does it actually work?
Whilst I do not have scientific data for you on how effective it actually is, I was amazed at how different my tongue and mouth felt after cleaning.
The thin coating on the bristles after cleaning certainly showed me it was doing something and the feeling of the bristles on the tongue certainly felt like it was working.
How much does it cost?
In the UK the availability of the Orabrush is somewhat limited. As an American brand, you don’t find it on all the major retailer shelves which keeps the prices higher than we might like.
For a single brush, prices vary between £4.50-£5.20*.
Where can I buy it?
In the UK Orabrush is not as easily accessible as some other oral health products, but it can be found in leading high street chemist Boots, in their stores and online, but commands a higher than average price. Third party sellers on Amazon are often the cheapest, but you will have to order it for delivery rather than buying in person.
- Combines bristles and a scraper
- Can tickle and be more sensitive on the tongue
- Gives the feeling, even if psychological that it has done a good job
- Strong constructions
- Should be replaced every 3-4 months
- Relatively expensive to replace
- An odd tickling sensation for some
- Plastic – not particularly environmentally friendly
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Cleaning the tongue is not something I was completely alien to. Heck, you hear and read about it all when you write about dental care products, but it has to be one of the least talked about things, that can have the biggest impact.
Thankfully I do not suffer from bad breath, if I had, maybe the practice of cleaning my tongue might have been one that came up sooner, but I do not ever recall being told by a dentist to clean my tongue.
Brushes like the Oral-B Smart Series 6500 and Genius 9000 have a tongue cleaning mode on them and Colgate include a tongue cleaner on the back of their deep clean brush head, but testing the Orabrush was the first time I have cleaned my tongue to frequently.
How I tested the tongue cleaner
The Orabrush was tested for a period of 4 weeks.
During this time I kept up my normal brushing routine using the Oral-B Genius 9000 (view on Amazon) electric toothbrush twice a day and flossed once a day.
I used Orabrush twice a day too, after cleaning my teeth.
Guidance on how to brush the tongue is provided on the packaging, but you can also follow our how to brush your tongue guide.
Throughout the testing phase there were no other changes to my diet or routine.
Summary: how I tested the tongue cleaner
- Test lasted for 4 weeks (kept normal brushing routine)
- Used at 2 different times of the day
- Used Oral-B Genius 9000 electric toothbrush
- Cleaned twice a day for 2 minutes each time
- Flossed once a day
- No changes in diet
The Orabrush wins the tickle test!
Yes, as silly as it sounds if like me you are not all that used to cleaning your tongue you will find that the ultra soft bristles of the Orabrush generates a sensation on the tongue’s surface that feels like it is tickling and left me for a few days wanting to stop.
Desensitising the tongue is a common requirement for many looking to adopt a more regular cleaning routine. I myself followed a few of the steps laid out here to help get used to the sensation.
After just a couple of days I was away and noticing a difference in the colour of my tongue more than a freshness to my breath.
The Orabrush comes neatly packaged, much like a manual toothbrush might, with the rear of the packaging offering instructions on how to clean and tips on how to take best use of the brush.
In many ways the brush is like a manual toothbrush, a long plastic handle with contoured rubber grips leading up to a brush head.
Whilst like a manual brush, there is a brush head, this is much wider, to give a larger surface area, but the number of bristles are significantly reduced compared to a normal brush.
In total there are probably 120-150 bristles on the brush head that are made from a soft rubber material. The bristles start out thicker where attached to the head and then taper to a point at the end which comes in contact with the tongue.
On the upper edge of the brush head is a thick and angular scraper, that follows that edge of the brush head halfway down the sides of it too, to cover a larger area itself.
This scraper follows behind the bristles to drag and pull away the thicker and larger debris that the bristles dislodge as it travels across the surface of the tongue.
The brush on test was a mix of Blue and White in colour. The main plastic body is white with rubber grips, bristles and scraper being Blue in colour. When purchased online we had no colour choice, but it would appear that it is available in other colours including Black, Green, Orange and Pink. Prices do seem to vary, depending on the supplier.
Getting into a routine of using the Orabrush is not all that difficult, but if you have spent years not bothering then it can be harder.
My research has found that making any effort to clean the tongue is better than nothing, but of course if it can become habit then great.
Studies by Pedrazzi and Seemann have shown that brushes are less effective than a scraper for cleaning the tongue. Relatively limited in their study size, the suggestion is that a scraper achieves a 75% reduction in the sulphur compounds (the bits that lead to bad breath) compared to 45% of a brush.
I have no science to back this up but it was certainly evident that Orabrush was doing something.
Having as part of this research also tried a scraper, my personal preference is the scraper as I found it more enjoyable to use than the Orabrush.
To give you an idea of the cleaning experience, the brush itself is roughly a third of the width of the tongue, so you would need to have at least 3 passes across the surface of the tongue to clean the whole top of the tongue.
However, you will probably pass over it 3-6 times as it can be surprising how much moisture/gunk it picks up.
This adheres to the bristles and scraper and can be rinsed off under the tap to clean the brush.
Initially the colour difference on my tongue was a little more noticeable, but after a few days where I was then cleaning a relatively clean tongue, I did not notice so much of a change in colour, but was mentally thinking I am doing the right thing for better oral health.
For those suffering with bad breath, a difference should be noticeable, there should be a reduction in the sulphur compounds and an improvement in your breath.
As I do not suffer with this, I am unable to really comment personally on any improvements, but the very act has to be making a positive contribution.
The bristles create almost a scratching sensation on the tongue, getting into the pits and contours of the surface.
It did not hurt and although you need to apply a bit of pressure to be most effective it is not painful and I did not experience any bleeding. If you do, stop. Let it heal and try again. Consider how much pressure you were applying.
As I tested this cleaner over a period of 4 weeks, I could not see any wear in the cleaner or the brush overall that would suggest it would need to be replaced in 3-4 months, but this is the suggestion. I presume it has to do with the hygiene of the materials used and how over time they degrade and lose effectiveness, the bristles becoming weakers as well as maybe harbouring germs.
Because the price of the Orabrush £4.50 ($5) to around £5.20 this brings it in perhaps slightly above the cost of a manual toothbrush. Even though electric toothbrush heads tend to be a little more expensive, the Orabrush is towards the upper middle of the price range for comparisons sake.
Whilst it is not unreasonable to expect users like you and I to change the brush this frequently, it is not a cheap addition to your healthcare routine, when any toothbrush will clean the tongue with some effectiveness.
The clean and sensation of the Orabrush is not as harsh in the opinion of many compared to a metal tongue scraper like drTung’s but there is a significant difference in price.
A metal scraper is similar to the price of 1 Orabrush yet do not need replacing for years, let alone every 3-4 months.
Psychologically for me the Orabrush cleans better, but the clinical studies are based on fact.
A final and noteworthy point is that many people travel and with them their toothbrush goes. So should the tongue cleaner.
Many electric toothbrushes come with a travel case, if they don’t you can get one. The same applies for a manual toothbrush.
The Orabrush does not come with a travel case or pouch, but they do exist. Sadly as a UK/European purchaser, they are not readily available and seem to be primarily available for US-based purchasers.
I am perhaps being a little critical as not everyone demands such and this is perhaps why the travel case can generally only be purchased in the USA, the home of the brand behind Orabrush. There is nothing stopping you putting this in a washbag, but the bristles do not get protected from dirt or damage as they would in some form of travel case.
Summary of daily usage
- Can tickle the tongue, odd sensation
- Larger brush head, complete with scraper
- Design similar to a manual toothbrush with a plastic and rubber construction
- Less bristles than a normal toothbrush
- Available in a range of colours, subject to availability
- Removes a layer of a saliva/mucus from the tongue’s surface
- Needs replacement every 3-4 months
- Relatively expensive compared to a metal scraper
- No travel case included
Conclusion, is Orabrush tongue cleaner any good?
Once you get past the sensation of the bristles tickling the tongue and the whole concept of brushing your tongue a couple of times a day; the process is much easier and the potential benefits are clear to see…a thickish film of mucus/saliva on the bristles of the brush.
You also have a scraper built into the brush to further aid the cleaning process.
So it definitely does work and do something, meaning you can expect to have a healthier, cleaner and fresher tongue than you did, if like me you don’t normally clean the tongue.
But, overall having looked into this subject area quite heavily the studies keep bringing me back to the mindset that a scraper on its own is more effective.
Despite the American Dental Association suggesting no marked differences and with no way for me to prove that the clean offered is actually better it then comes down to personal preference. This preference is for me impacted by price.
A metal alternative like drTung’s or HealthandYoga offers similar for not much extra money with the potential of lasting a lot lot longer. Their metal construction means they are suitable for years rather than months of use, a difference that is in part too hard to overlook for many, but the harsher sensation when cleaning the tongue may well be a good enough reason to consider the Orabrush as second best.
*Any prices quoted are approximates and were accurate at the time of writing.
****Disclaimer – The information provided in this review is correct at the time of writing and is subject to change. The conclusions and opinions drawn are personal ones based on one person’s usage of the product. By this very nature the conclusions drawn may differ to that of somebody else and maybe your own. Individuals tastes, preferences and opinions can vary greatly. Any conclusions, recommendations or comments made are done so taking into account as much detail and information as possible to provide an honest and reasoned judgement.****
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Last updated: 2019-07-16 at 09:14 // Source: Amazon Associates