Tongue Scraping: The Basics
What is Tongue Scraping?
Tongue scraping is an ancient Ayurvedic routine that is pretty much exactly what it sounds like! It is done by using a tool to remove particles from the surface of the tongue via scraping. In short, dead cells, bacteria, excreted toxins, and other debris can build up on the tongue over time, and tongue scraping is simply making an effort to physically remove them. Tongue scraping is recommended by dental professionals, (Western-trained) MDs, and Ayurvedic practitioners alike.
Why is it done?
Just as various sources will recommend tongue scraping, there are also various associated goals and benefits.
Past simply removing buildup on the tongue, some use tongue scraping to reduce bad breath. There is validity to this, as one study (from 2004) found that scraping your tongue was more effective at removing odor-causing bacteria than regular brushing. Speaking of bacteria, another study (from 2005) found that regular tongue scraping reduced bacteria in the mouth that cause tooth decay, gum disease, cavities, and other oral maladies!
Removing this access buildup and improving our oral hygiene can in turn improve both our tongues appearance and function. Access debris on the tongue can bring a colored and coated appearance. Regular scraping can keep this buildup at bay and keep our tongues a healthy light pink color. Believe it or not, there is also research out there that suggest the practice of tongue scraping can improve our sense of taste! This is because having a cleaner tongue with less bacterial interference may allow us to better distinguish between the taste sensations of sweet, salty, bitter, and sour.
Tongue Scraping, of course, requires a tongue scraper. There are many options of various shapes and materials available on the market, and some people simply choose to use a larger spoon. Once you have your tool of choice, position yourself in front of a mirror and stick out your tongue (with your mouth open).
To begin, gently set the rounded edge of the tongue scraper at the middle to back of your tongue (depending on your preference & comfort), and pull it forward slowly. Repeat until you’ve scraped the full surface of your tongue, cleaning the scraper between pulls.
The pressure of the scraper should never hurt, harm the tastebuds, or damage the surface of the tongue. Tongue scrapers should be adequately cleaned with soap and warm water after use. Follow with your regular brush, floss, and rinse!
Keep it up!
We recommend scraping each morning as part of your regular oral hygiene routine. Here at Tonic Products, we’re all about internal balance, and Dr. Sheila Patel said it best with:
Each area of the body has a balance of natural microbes that are unique for its function… when the balance is disrupted and abnormal numbers of bacteria flourish in these biofilms in the body, we are more likely to experience disease. Rather than wait for a disease to occur, by removing this coating… we can help prevent oral health issues down the line.