Here is yet another daily practice to add into your oral health regime. Fortunately for you, this one is not only simple and fast, taking only a few seconds out of your day, but it offers benefits that can be seen right away. I am referring to the Ayurvedic practice of tongue scraping, which involves — you guessed it — scraping your tongue.
Scraping your tongue may sound uncomfortable or even painful, but I assure you, once you try it and see all of the gunk that comes off of your tongue (painlessly), you will immediately choose to add this practice to your morning routine. I’d never heard of it until about a month ago when a friend mentioned it to me while I was on vacation. I ordered a scraper online as soon as I got home and have been using it religiously ever since.
Registered dental hygienist Kim Shamoun says: “I can’t live without tongue scraping. Without a doubt, it should be a part of our daily oral hygiene regimen. I stress to my patients, friends, family and strangers alike how important it really is. A tongue scraper is the one thing I would want with me on a deserted island… forget the lipstick!”
The Benefits of Tongue Scraping
1. Combats Bad Breath and Halitosis
In fact, tongue scraping is the single most beneficial defence against halitosis. Regardless of whether your breath is regularly stinky, I’d be willing to bet that you still wake up with morning breath. How nice would it be to roll over and give your significant other, or pet, a big smooch without them gagging and pushing you away? (Okay, maybe it’s not that bad, but it’s still an unfortunate morning reality!)
2. Enhances Taste Receptors
When your tongue is coated with gunk, that gunk is preventing your taste buds from recognizing all of the amazing flavours your food has to offer. Experience your food as if it were for the first time again with the simple practice of tongue scraping!
3. Improves Digestion
We’ve all heard how digestion begins in your mouth, and how important it is to chew your food, but your saliva is just as important here, and the more saliva you produce, the easier the digestive process will be. Tongue scraping will cause you to salivate more because you will be able to taste your food more.
4. Protects From Plaque Buildup
You might be surprised to learn that plaque exists on the tongue as well on your teeth — this is called soft plaque. The more plaque you have on your tongue, the more plaque will develop on your teeth.
5. Improves Overall Oral Hygiene
Having a clean tongue and overall good oral hygiene can help protect against other diseases as well. Oral health is very important for overall health, and poor oral hygiene is linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and infertility.
I Know What You’re Thinking…
You’re probably thinking, I already scrape my tongue, every time I brush my teeth, with my toothbrush! Well, you definitely have the right idea, but unfortunately you are using the wrong tool for the job. A toothbrush just does not provide the same scraping benefit as a tongue scraper. Toothbrush —for brushing teeth. Tongue scraper — for scraping the tongue. See what I did there? You will need a hard, flat surface for optimal scraping.
How to Scrape Your Tongue
First you want to pick your scraper. Personally, I have been unable to find them in stores, so I went online and ordered one from Amazon. They range from $7-$15, and come in either stainless steel or copper. Copper is likely the best metal to be used for tongue scraping because, as with our gut, the mouth harbours both good and bad bacteria, and copper is toxic to the bad while also providing important enzymes necessary for the healthy microbes in the mouth to survive.
In either case, I recommend getting one with handles for better grip in case the gunk slides onto the handles.
One you’ve brought your scraper home, follow these steps:
1. In the morning, right after you wake up and before drinking any water, get up and scrape your tongue. This will reduce the accumulation of toxins in your digestive tract from your tongue. You don’t want to press too hard, but press hard enough so you can see what looks like mucus sliding off your tongue. Rinse the scraper after each scrape and then repeat the process about 5-7 times, starting at the back of your tongue.
2. Follow with flossing, then brushing
3. Finish with a large glass of water.
You can also use your scraper in the same order during your evening brushing routine. Your mouth will start to feel much fresher and cleaner right away, and you’ll wonder how you ever went to so long without scraping your tongue before.