With research and improved technology more health professionals come to recognize the functions of microbiota in the mouth. As a result, they often support the resurfacing of some ancient techniques in oral hygiene. One such ancient practice is tongue scraping. It has been performed in India for hundreds of years as part of a daily hygiene regimen. Today the practice is gaining popularity in the United States, and for good reason. This simple practice is backed by numerous studies and produces several benefits for both oral and overall health.
What is a Tongue Scraper?
A tongue scraper (also called a tongue brush or tongue cleaner) is an oral hygiene device specifically designed to remove bacterial build up, food particles, and dead cells from the surface of your tongue. There are different designs and materials you can choose from. Scrapers, the most common cleaning tool, are often made of metal, plastic, and silicon. They have handles and a rigid or rough surface, perfect for scraping along the bumps and crevices. You can find them at most health and food stores, as well as online, and are fairly inexpensive.
When do I Need to Clean my Tongue?
As you sleep your digestive system is still working and removing toxins from your body. As such, a film develops on the surface of your tongue overnight. The film might be clear, or thick, white, yellow, brown, or possibly even green. It contains certain levels of these toxins, and get reabsorbed in the body if you do not clear them away. This is why dentists recommend you scrape your tongue first thing in the morning, before you brush your teeth or even eat breakfast.
How do I Know if I Have Toxins?
A few sings that toxins are accumulating in your body include:
Thick coating on the tongue
Chronic gum disease
Mouth or tongue pain
Proper Tongue Scraping Technique
First open your mouth wide and extend your tongue, so you have access to the full length. Use your cleaning tool to scrape from the back of the tongue to the front. Never move the scraper backwards. Residue will cling to the tool, so rinse it off after each scrape. Continue scraping until you have worked the entire surface of the tongue. Take your time, and be gentle, so you do not break the skin. Finally, rinse your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash. This clears away any remaining residue and freshens breath.
5 Benefits of Tongue Scraping
Here are a few reasons to use a tongue scraper every day:
1. Freshens Breath
Halitosis (chronic bad breath)
is terrible. It can have a negative impact on your own life, as well as those around you. Think of your self-esteem. Fortunately, most bad breath comes from bacteria on the back of your tongue. With a tongue scraper, you can remove the malodorous bacteria and significantly reduce bad breath.
2. Improves Taste Buds
Build-up left on the surface of the tongue can block your taste buds. This may cause an inability to recognize tastes and even false cravings. Using a tongue scraper can open up pores and allow greater enjoyment of different flavors. In turn this will help stimulate digestion.
3. Prevents Reabsorption of Toxins
You do not want to re-ingest the toxins your body has tried to excrete. By scraping your tongue first thing in the morning you can remove the harmful film and keep it out of your body. This helps boost your overall immune system as well.
4. Improves Oral Health
The tongue scraper also helps remove bacteria and food particles responsible for periodontal disease and plaque. When used in tandem with routine brushing and flossing
, you can prevent tooth decay
, periodontal problems, gum recession, and tooth loss.
5. Hints at Overall Health
Ever wonder why your physician often asks you to open your mouth? It is because the tongue and mouth reflect the condition of your internal organs. Tongue scraping allows you to get to know your tongue better, and in turn, your entire body. Notice significant changes in your tongue? These could also point to variations of your internal state as well.
Having a regular hygiene routine is one of the most important things you can do to reduce toxins in the body and boost oral health. In addition to tongue scraping every morning, you should also brush and floss twice a day and visit a dental care professional every six months.