If you want to be able to run your tongue over smooth shiny teeth and enjoy breath as fresh and clean as a baby’s, try a tongue scraper. It is a tiny investment that will make a real difference to the quality of your overall health – and not just your oral hygiene.
What is tongue scraping?
Tongue scraping is part of yogic practice because it removes build up of the body’s unhealthy waste products – “ama” in Ayurvedic Medicine. The ama I’m referring in this case is the bacteria which accumulates on the tongue, particularly overnight when the body’s detoxification processes are at their most active.
Tongue brushing’s proper Sanskrit name is Jihwa Prakshalana and is considered by those practicing the Ayurdeva lifestyle to be as necessary to oral hygiene as brushing the teeth.
Walking around all day with a tongue coated in ama is a pretty horrible feeling and contributes to feelings of lethargy and overall drabness, not to mention breath like a doggy’s bottom.
Why is tongue scraping amazing?
Once you have removed the nasty ama from your tongue you will start to notice an improvement to flavours and will be able to benefit from more mindful and enjoyable eating. You will feel cleaner in every aspect as the different areas of the tongue represent the various organs of the body – much as the areas of the feet correspond with the whole body as in reflexology. A daily massage of the tongue will revitalize all of your internal organs.
Do I need to scrape my tongue?
Nearly everyone would benefit from adding regular tongue scraping to their morning routine. Unless your mouth is lovely and pink and clean all of the time with no whiteness on the tongue, you will definitely get something positive out of tongue scraping.
How do I do tongue scraping?
The best tool for tongue scraping is a traditional Eastern scraper made from stainless steel. Copper is also good but it tends to turn green in the bathroom so I prefer the stainless steel versions.
You can try a plastic scraper but the metal scrapers are kinder to the tongue and produce a more effective clean.
I purchased mine from an alternative wellness centre here in Adelaide but you can easily order one online:
You can also get an okay, but inferior, result using the concave side of a spoon – a dessert spoon is the best size to use and it helps if the spoon has a slightly coarse edge to it.
Before eating and before brushing your teeth each morning, place the scraper at the back of the tongue (not so far that you are gagging though) and firmly but gracefully scrape from back to front. Rinse the scraper and repeat until your tongue looks a bit cleaner.
How long before I see results?
You can significantly reduce the ama coating by scraping the tongue each morning before brushing the teeth. After just a few days you should start to see a nice, healthy, bright pink tongue and will notice that you have much fresher breath. You may even start to notice other improvements to your overall health such as better digestion or more energy.
Why not just use my toothbrush?
The problem with using a toothbrush to clean the tongue is that it has the opposite effect from the one you are trying to achieve. Although the brush will loosen the nasty stuff, it does not sweep it out of the mouth so you will just be brushing ama, or toxins, back into the body – kind of like vacuuming your floor and then tipping the contents of the vacuum back out once you are finished. A tongue scraper removes the gunk from the body once and for all. It can also be rinsed completely clean under the tap.
A final little treat for a lovely fresh mouth
Now that you have decided to improve your health with tongue scraping, why not also make this simple natural mouthwash to really get your cake-hole feeling great? Just mix one cup of warm boiled water with the juice of half a lemon and one cup of chopped parsley. Add a couple of teaspoons of crushed fennel seeds for a more fragrant variation.
Have you tried tongue scraping? If so, have you noticed good results in other areas of your health? I would be interested to hear your thoughts.