Hmm, well, that’s a topic to get your mouth watering… before you gag though, there’s more to tongue scraping than you think.
An ancient Ayurvedic self-care ritual, tongue scraping is the oral hygiene practice of removing bacteria, food debris, fungi, toxins and dead cells from the surface of the tongue. While you can use your toothbrush to give your tongue a good brushing, a scraper is up to 30% more effective at doing the job. Tongue scrapers come in a variety of materials – copper, silver, stainless steel or plastic – and resemble a small spoon, or a U-shaped piece of metal.
So why would you want to scrape your tongue?
The things that settle on your tongue, like food debris and bacteria can, over time, build up and have a negative impact on your oral health. There are several benefits to regular tongue scraping:
And how is it done?
Begin by sticking out your tongue in front of a mirror. Starting as far back on your tongue as is comfortable, gently pull the scraper along the surface of your tongue towards the tip, always from the back to the front. If you’re prone to gagging, start in the middle of your tongue, and work further back as you get used to it. After each scrape, wipe the debris off your scraper with a cloth or tissue. One or two scrapes per area is usually enough. The process should take the same amount of time as brushing your teeth; it’s good to do it every time you brush and floss. When you’re done, wash the scraper with warm water and soap, ready for next time.
You need to apply some pressure to the tongue, but you don’t want to cut yourself or damage your taste buds.
But don’t stop brushing your teeth…
Although tongue scraping will help to avoid bad breath and bacteria build-up, you still need to brush your teeth with toothpaste, and floss regularly. It’s not a substitute for tooth brushing, more of a really good add-on.
Where to get a scraper?
Most health shops sell them, as well as online stores. They are inexpensive and last quite a while.