Why You Should Be Using a Tongue Scraper

by Maddie Vlismas

Whether you're a seasoned expert or a complete newbie, the practice of tongue scraping has been around for a long, long time, and it stands to benefit anyone willing to give it a try. 

So what is it?

Tongue Scraping is part of an ancient Ayurvedic text called the Charaka Samhita, where it is considered as one way to remove Ama, or toxic debris, from your mouth.

In a more Western setting, it has been adopted as a daily practice of dental hygiene, and is a fast way to remove extra particles (including ones that cause bad breath!) from the surface of your tongue. 

Why is it important?

Like most Ayurvedic customs, tongue scraping is both a physical routine and spiritual ritual. It's believed that the mouth is one of the main passages between your body and the environment, so maintaining proper oral hygiene helps create balance and an overall general wellness. 

Debris, bacteria, and dead cells can build up on your tongue over time, (yes, even if you're brushing and flossing twice a day!). Introducing tongue scraping into your morning dental routine can have a wealth of positive effects, including:

  • Cleans toxins and bacteria from the tongue

    Researchers found that using a tongue scraper twice a day for seven days reduced the overall occurrence of the two most commonly found bacteria known to cause bad breath and dental decay.

    • Helps remove coating on the tongue that leads to bad breath

      Although tongue scraping can’t replace brushing your teeth, scraping may do some things better. Researchers found that scraping was even more effective than brushing at removing odor-causing bacteria, but it works best when combining the two practices!

      • Helps eliminate undigested food particles from the tongue

      In Ayurveda, proper digestion is the foundation of health; it is literally the process by which our daily intake of food nourishes our tissues and ultimately, our state of consciousness. Healthy digestion also protects the body against the accumulation of toxins and ensures the proper elimination of wastes.

      • Cleans the taste buds to enhance the sense of taste (!)

      Research even suggests that using a tongue scraper twice daily can improve your sense of taste. Your tongue may be able to better distinguish between bitter, sweet, salty, and sour sensations- yes please!

      • Gently stimulates the internal organs

      Many systems of medicine see the tongue as a map that corresponds with different organs of the body, including the lungs, the heart, the stomach, the liver, the spleen, the kidneys, and the intestines. While the tongue scraper removes toxins from the tongue itself, it also stimulates, massages, and cleanses the associated organs and deep tissues.

      • Promotes overall oral and digestive physical well-being

      Because the tongue reflects the health of so many vital organs, systemic imbalances are reflected on the surface of the tongue. Using a tongue scraper each day allows you to note any changes that may indicate variations of your internal health.

      How do I use a Tongue Scraper, then?

       It's simple! It's commonly recommended to use a Tongue Scraper as part of a morning routine to remove any toxins that have accumulated overnight, freshen the breath (goodbye morning breath) and awaken the organs. It's also recommended that it should be practiced on an empty stomach to reap the full benefits. Whether you brush your teeth before our after you scrape is entirely up to you! 

      Extend your tongue as far as it will go, then place the tongue scraper as far back on the tongue as is comfortable. In a forward motion, gently pull the tongue scraper along the entire surface of the tongue. Rinse and repeat- 5 to 10 times. Remember to be gentle, you don't want to damage those precious taste buds!

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