The benefits of tongue scraping
Tongue scraping is an Ayurvedic self-care ritual known called Jihwa Prakshalana. It is performed with a U-shaped plastic or metal tool which is designed to remove dead cells from the surface of the tongue as well as bacteria and food debris. It’s traditionally done daily in the morning to get rid of this waste that will have formed or accumulated overnight.
Why consider tongue scraping?
Improves tooth and gum health
Tongue scraping helps remove bacteria which causes periodontal issues, plaque build up, tooth decay, gum infections and recessions.
Keeps your breath smelling good
A tongue scraper scrapes the bacterial coating from the whole surface of the tongue. It is the bacteria near the back of the tongue that can cause odour.
Enhances your taste buds
Bacterial build up on the tongue can block taste buds over time. By removing the bacteria you can enhance your taste sensation. This means that you may eat less and eliminate the need to add more salt and sugar to food to make it tasty. It has been shown that scraping increases the perceived Intensity of salty taste thereby helping you reduce the need for salt in your diet.
Can improve digestion
Scraping stimulates the production of saliva which helps with digestion.
Can benefit your mental health
From an Ayurvedic point of view, cleansing processes clear the mind and open up the communication systems of the body.
How to perform tongue scraping
Get yourself a tongue scraper – easily bought online.
On rising, brush and floss your teeth.
Now scrape your tongue: hold the ends of the tongue scraper in each hand: stick out your tongue and place the scraper as far back on your tongue as possible; scrape the surface of your tongue in one firm movement from back to front.
Rinse the scraper and repeat up to five to ten times as required to remove the coating which maybe white, yellow or green.
Note: Underlying health issues cause the tongue to turn various colours. Some issues will clear up on their own, whilst others will require treatment. Seek medical treatment if you notice changes in the colour, texture and size of your tongue which lasts for more than a few days, is uncomfortable / painful or produces a bad odour. Medical herbalists (and many other practitioners) always ask to look at the tongue as it's appearance can indicate underlying health issues that need treating.
Is a scraper better than toothbrush for cleaning your tongue?
You can brush your tongue with your toothbrush if you don’t have a scarper though it’s harder to reach the very back of the tongue where more of the bacteria collects. In addition, the tongue scraper, which is smooth, causes less irritation and tissue damage than toothbrush bristles.