When I first saw a friend using one, I had no idea why anyone would want to scrape their tongue every day when they wake up. Now, after years of using one, I use one every day, and miss it terribly when I don’t have it.
What the heck is a tongue scraper?
A tongue scraper (also called a tongue cleaner or tongue brush) is an oral hygiene device designed to clean off bacteria, food debris, fungi, and dead cells from the surface of your tongue. The film that develops on your tongue while you sleep is a good indicator of what’s going on inside your body. It can be clear, thick, white, yellow, brown, or even green. The bacteria and fungi on the tongue are related to many common oral care and general health problems and can be a leading cause of bad breath for many.
What is one of the first things many Eastern doctors or practitioners ask to see? Yes, your tongue……
Tongue cleaning has been around since ancient times in India. Ayurveda, the Traditional Indian Science of Medicine, recommends cleaning the tongue as part of your daily self-care regime to remove ama, toxic debris that builds up in the body. During sleep when the body is resting, the digestive system works to detoxify itself. These toxins are deposited on the surface of the tongue via the internal excretory channels, and are responsible for the coating usually seen on the tongue first thing in the morning. Tongue scraping has found it’s way into Western society as folks discover the benefits of cleaning the tongue every day.
5 Reasons to Scrape Your Tongue Every Day
#1 Improves the breath:
Removing the bacteria, food debris, fungi, and dead cells from the tongue significantly reduces the odor from the mouth. You may have been told to use your toothbrush for this purpose, but brushing the tongue does NOT efficiently remove all of the film that develops on the tongue. You will be blown away the first time you do this by the amount of gunk that comes off of the tongue.
#2 Improves your ability to taste:
Removing build-up from the surface of your tongue will better expose your taste buds. This will lead to better enjoyment of the flavors of your food. Ayurveda teaches that the better we enjoy and savor our food, the better our bodies digest and assimilate, leading to better over all health. Also, Ayurveda teaches that blocked taste buds and tongue receptors interferes with our body’s ability to communicate with our brain about what types of foods we need to maintain our health, leading to false cravings.
#3 Avoid toxins being reabsorbed into your body:
As you sleep, your body is detoxifying. Much of the film on your tongue is toxins excreted from your body. You don’t want to re-ingest that do you? NO! Scraping your tongue first thing in the morning will remove this sludge from your tongue and from your body, improving your over all health and improving your immune system.
#4 Improves dental health:
By removing bacteria and toxins, you are also contributing to better dental health as well, leading to healthier teeth and gums. The bacteria that you remove from your tongue are responsible for things like periodontal problems, plaque build-up, tooth decay, gum infections, gum recession, and even loss of teeth.
#5 Get to know your tongue:
Did you know your tongue is a mirror reflection of your internal organs? Just like with hand or foot mapping, the tongue is mapped out to reflect various parts of your internal body. You can learn so much about what is going on in particular areas just by looking at your tongue every morning. Also, by scraping your tongue, you are actually stimulating and massaging those corresponding internal organs, just like in acupressure or acupuncture. Pretty cool, huh?
How to scrape your tongue:
Tongue scraping should be done on a regular basis, preferably in the morning. It involves using a long, thin, flat piece of metal (sometimes plastic), which is bent in the shape of a ‘U’, to scrape the surface of your tongue. To do this, extend the tongue and place the scraper as far back on the tongue as is comfortable. Gently scrape from the back or base of the tongue using one long stroke, until you have scraped the whole surface. Rinse the scraper and begin again. Scrape firmly, but gently. Do this until the tongue feels clean and is free of coating. Wash the scraper well after each use with hot water. When you first get started scraping your tongue, be extra gentle. Your tongue will get used to it quickly. You will be amazed at how much stuff comes off of your tongue in the morning!!
Where to buy a tongue scraper:
Many health food store sell tongue scrapers. You can also buy them online. They are inexpensive, and there are a few different kinds out on the market. I prefer the ones made from stainless steel because they are easier to clean.