Tongue scraping is the simple practice of scraping your tongue before brushing your teeth. Studies have shown that this simple technique:
Reduces undesirable bacteria in the mouth that can compromise gum, teeth and oral health.
Reduces volatile sulfur compounds (VSC), which are by-products of mouth bacteria linked to bad breath.
Improves taste sensation and reduces tongue coating.
Changes the environment of the mouth to reduce putrefaction and decrease bacterial load.
When certain bacteria on the tongue and in the oral cavity break down certain proteins in the mouth, volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) are released that result in bad breath. Studies have confirmed the benefits of tongue scraping as an effective way to reduce volatile sulfur compounds. In fact, tongue scraping greatly outperforms tooth brushing to accomplish this.
Oral Hygiene and Beyond!
Beyond the benefits of oral hygiene, tongue scraping, brushing, and flossing the teeth followed by drinking a large glass of water is a strategic way to kick-start the digestive process. By stimulating the taste buds with tongue scraping, not only is the tongue better able to perceive tastes and properly digest foods (3), this taste bud-activation also engages the lower intestines to initiate a complete bowel elimination first thing in the morning.
How to Scrape your Tongue
1. In the morning, right after you wake up, scrape your tongue. Make it the first thing you do. Even if you wake up in the middle of the night, scraping the tongue followed by a glass of water can reduce accumulating digestive ama (toxins).
2. With a relaxed tongue, using your U-shaped tongue scraper, gently reach to the back of the tongue and scrape the tongue from back to front. Repeat this 5-10 times, reaching as far back as comfortable, rinsing the scraper after each pass. A slight gag can help bring up some mucus and ama from the back of the throat.
3. Follow tongue scraping with brushing, flossing, and a large glass of water.
4. To complete an Ayurvedic oral hygiene routine, this can be followed by oil pulling – of course, this would require another round of tooth brushing.
5. Get into the habit of scraping your tongue prior to each brushing.