5-Minute Health Tip: Tongue Scraping

Tongue scraping is actually an ancient Ayurvedic hygiene practice called Jihwa Prakshalana. Daily tongue scraping removes toxins, food debris, fungi, bacteria, and dead skin cells from the tongue’s surface, and strengthens the immune system in the process. Tongue scraping is as important as brushing and flossing, and takes less than five minutes!

tongue scraperWhat Does Your Tongue Say About You?

Just because you’re at rest, doesn’t mean your body is. When you sleep, your digestive system is hard at work removing toxins from your body…and putting them right on the surface of your tongue! These toxic tongue coatings can take on many different hues—white, yellow, or green. And if we don’t scrape them off our tongues, the body reabsorbs these toxins and bacteria, and can cause respiratory problems, digestive disturbances, and weakened immune systems.  When you wake up, check out the coating on your tongue. A thick coating indicates an overloaded digestive system, and is a cue to ease up on heavy foods.

Why Use a Tongue Scraper?

According to a study published in the Journal of Periodontology, 50% of halitosis cases are caused by tongue residue. In fact, half of the bacteria in the mouth live in and on the deep crevice of the tongue. Researchers discovered that a tongue scraper is much more effective than a toothbrush at removing toxins and bacteria from the tongue. A toothbrush tends to push bacteria deeper into the tongue.

Another reason to use a tongue scraper is that over time tongue residue dulls our taste buds, and the flavors of food aren’t as poignant. Keeping the tongue free of toxins also reduces the likelihood of plaque buildup, tooth decay, and gum infections.

How to Use a Tongue Scraper

Tongue scraping is best done in the morning on an empty stomach. Place the tongue scraper as far back in the mouth as possible, and with firm but gentle pressure, scrape from back to front 5 to 10 times.

Tongue scrapers are long, flat pieces of metal shaped like a “U.” Stainless steel tongue scrapers are the easiest to clean. Purchase your tongue scraper online or in a health store. In the meantime, you can scrape your tongue using the side of a metal spoon.