Hey, do you have a tongue? Then you should try tongue scraping!
When I first heard about this new-ish fad, I thought it sounded a bit weird. I brush my tongue, sure, but why scrape it? But I heard there were some good benefits from tongue scraping, so I decided to try it.
And now I never go a day without scraping my tongue!
And once I tell you why, you won’t want to either!
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Why you should try scraping your tongue
Your tongue is a pretty amazing and versatile muscle. But it’s also pretty good at getting coated with icky stuff (that’s the technical term) that shouldn’t hang around.
It’s hard to get rid of the ickies, though, especially if you’re only flossing or brushing your tongue.
That’s where tongue scraping comes in!
Tongue scraping is an Ayurvedic tradition, started thousands of years ago. According to Ayurveda, tongue scraping is important for digestion. According to tradition it can also help bring balance to body, mind, and spirit. I’m not entirely sure about that claim, but there are some great benefits to tongue scraping!
Benefits of tongue scraping
There are a few great reasons to incorporate tongue scraping into your daily routine.
If this list doesn’t convince you to start scraping your tongue… Just try it anyway for a few days, then kiss someone and ask them what they think! You and your loved ones can benefit from tongue scraping in a few awesome ways.
Read on to learn more!
Brushing your teeth and your tongue is good for you, for sure, but tongue scraping goes the extra mile in getting rid of plaque and bacteria.
The stuff that coats your tongue can be caused by a few different things including eating unhealthy or processed foods, or poor gut health. Anything coating your tongue becomes a home to bacteria.
Your tongue has a microbiome, just like your gut, and scraping it can help the good and bad bacteria in your mouth in balance.
Work on eating well and supporting your gut health (this ((gut health oil can help with that) but make sure to scrape your tongue too!
Getting rid of the stuff coating your tongue also means better dental health. That could mean fewer cavities and dentist bills for you!
Detox through your tongue!
Your tongue should be a normal pink color with maybe just a thin coating on it.
When you sleep, your whole body is working on detoxing (one reason why sleep is so important!) and that’s part of why we wake up with bad breath- your body has been working hard to detox, and your tongue was part of the process!
Related: The ultimate list of sleep tips for better sleep
If your tongue stays coated and icky, it can’t detox like it should.
This can lead to tooth decay and a buildup of toxins in your system.
We’re already exposed to so many toxins every day, your body can use all the help it can get with getting rid of them!
Related: What is chemical sensitivity? (And how to detox!)
Tongue scraping helps with the detoxification process by keeping your tongue clean and in good working order.
Stops bad breath
This is an awesome perk!
Tongue scraping makes morning breath pretty much nonexistent.
I know it’s hard for me to tell if I have bad breath in the morning, but I can tell with my husband! If he skips tongue scraping just for one night, it’s noticeable. But when we both keep up with tongue scraping, we’re perfectly kissable right when we wake up!
Do your partner and yourself a favor and try tongue scraping for fresher breath all day long.
One last perk, not only does tongue scraping give you a nice, clean tongue, it also just plain ol’ feels better.
I’ve forgotten my tongue scraper while traveling before, and let me tell you, since I started tongue scraping I can most definitely feel a difference when I skip it for a few days!
Tongue scraping gives your mouth a clean, fresh, uncoated feeling that you’ll notice.
A small study even reported that tongue scraping can help you taste food better!
Which makes me wonder- for the people who feel the need to heavily salt or season their food, do they just need a good clean tongue instead?
Ayurveda even claims that tongue scraping removes tastelessness.
You’ll have to test that one for yourself though.
Tongue scraping side effects
Since you aren’t ingesting anything or making any huge changes when you start scraping your tongue, there aren’t many side effects you need to be aware of.
But if you have problems putting things in your mouth without gagging, tongue scraping might be hard for you at first.
Just scrape starting at the middle of your tongue and work your way back as you get used to it!
There’s also the possibility of a sore tongue if you’ve scraped too hard, so be gentle. Your tongue will toughen up as you go and you’ll be able to use more force, but tongue scraping should never hurt.
If you scrape your tongue too hard or anything painful happens, give it a break
Best tongue scrapers
There are tons of tongue scrapers out there, but here are a few of my favorites- they’re super cheap, easy to clean, not plastic, and they’ll last you forever!
Related: Easy ways to use less plastic
You can get an Ayurvedic copper tongue scraper here.
Ayurveda recommends copper for maximum oral health.
Stainless steel is another great option. I’ve been using my stainless steel scraper (say that three times fast…) for years and it works great! I like the curved shape because it’s flexible and I can use it to easily reach anywhere on my tongue.
This stainless steel tongue scraper comes with a handy travel case!
There are also tongue scrapers with a loop at the end and a single handle, so that you can use it one-handed.
All the above tongue scrapers work fine, it’s just a matter of preference!
Note that the edges of your tongue scraper shouldn’t be any sharper than the edge of a normal metal spoon. Get a scraper that’s curved, but not sharp.
You can also do tongue scraping with a spoon, but I’ve found that the shape doesn’t work quite as well. It’s the wrong angle. You can’t get as much force and scrape as thoroughly, but using a spoon works in a pinch!
How to do tongue scraping
Alrighty, so you’ve got your tongue scraper, you’re sticking your tongue out, and you’re ready to go! But how do you actually do tongue scraping the right way?
To start a healthy tongue scraping habit, use your tongue scraper each time after you brush your teeth.
When brushing, feel free to brush your tongue too, it helps loosen up the stuff on it before you scrape.
Do tongue scraping right after brushing your teeth once or twice a day.
(Fun fact: This is called habit stacking. It’s much easier to learn and incorporate a new habit if you pair it with one that you’re already used to doing, like brushing your teeth!)
What angle to scrap your tongue at
Practice holding your tongue scraper in different ways, and use it at whatever angle seems to get things clean.
To clean the top of your tongue, hold the tongue scraper more parallel to your tongue. And to get the sides, hold the tongue scraper closer to up and down.
I usually hold mine at about a 30-degree angle to my tongue, or slightly flatter if I need to get different areas clean.
Try scraping in different directions too.
The natural bumps and ridges on your tongue (not taste buds, they’re actually called papillae- fun fact!) grow in patterns, and you might find that you’re able to clean your tongue better if you don’t always scrape straight towards the tip of your tongue.
How much force should you use?
Enough to get your tongue clean!
You should be able to see white or clear stuff on the tongue scraper after each scrape. If not, try a bit more force.
And when you’re just starting out, your tongue might feel a tad bit tender since it isn’t used to a scraper, but it shouldn’t hurt. Use less force if it’s uncomfortable.
You’ll be able to increase the force and amount of scraping over time.
Scrape 5-15 times, all over your tongue, until things seem clean and there isn’t any (or very little) leftover gunk on your scraper.
Don’t forget to rinse!
Rinse off your scraper in between each stroke.
You might need to use your hand to rub off the scraper each time, or just water might do the trick. Either way, make sure your tongue scraper is clean each time you put it in your mouth.
And I’m usually very careful about water conservation, but this is one time where I’ll leave the faucet running since I’m using it every few seconds. Just make sure to turn it off while you’re brushing your teeth!
When you’re done, give your tongue a final rinse by gargling with some water.
Spit and you’re done!
Tongue scraping isn’t a new trend, but it’s new to me, and I’m so glad I discovered it!
Are you going to start scraping your tongue?
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