Ayurvedic Benefits Of Tongue Scraping

In addition to brushing your teeth and flossing, scraping your tongue can also be an effective method of keeping your mouth clean and your breath fresh (via Cleveland Clinic). Scraping the bacteria and collecting food from your tongue has been reported to improve one's sense of taste and fight off harmful bacteria in your mouth that can inflame your gums and cause cavities.

In fact, oral health is very important for your overall well-being, as poor oral hygiene has been linked to such conditions as cardiovascular disease and complications with pregnancy, according to the Mayo Clinic. Tongue scraping has proven to be a particularly effective method of removing unwanted bacteria from the mouth, as evidenced by a 2004 study published in the Journal of Periodontology. In fact, the study showed that tongue scrapers were able to reduce halitosis-causing volatile sulfur compounds in the mouth by 75%, whereas a toothbrush produced only a 45% reduction.

Tongue scraping is also a strong component of Ayurvedic medicine, which takes a holistic view of the body's overall health (via the California College of Ayurveda). Given the tongue's placement as the body's main pathway to the digestive system, the Ayurvedic school of thinking is that keeping it clean can have a positive effect on your entire body's well-being.

What we eat can get left behind

When we eat or drink anything, some of the bacteria and food particles can remain behind in the esophagus, occasionally sliding back up and into the mouth, resettling on the tongue. These fermented particles can then be reabsorbed into our bodies the next time we eat or drink. In Ayurveda, toxic buildup such as this is referred to as "Ama," and it can impact everything from energy levels to digestion (via Modern Ayurvedic).

Since scraping your tongue has the ability to improve your sense of taste, as perĀ Ayurveda New Zealand, it will reduce the need to spice up the flavor of your food with excess sugar and salt. In a 2018 study published in the Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging scraping the tongue increased people's taste sensitivity to salt, thereby reducing the need to add more salt to increase the flavor of food.

Ayurveda also believes that your tongue is the road map to your body, with different locations on the tongue impacting different parts of the body. By looking at which areas of the tongue tend to have the most accumulation, it can give you an indication of where toxins may be building up in your body. For example, buildup on the back of the tongue could be an indication of problems in the colon, while the front of the tongue may point to an issue with the lungs and heart (per Svastha Ayurveda).

Daily scraping can make a difference

Scraping the tongue can also help with your digestion, as evidenced by a 2018 study published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine. The study showed that regular tongue scraping over the course of nearly a month could be linked to improved digestion and better bowel health.

Ideally, for the best Ayurvedic benefits, you should be scraping your tongue once a day (via Ayurveda New Zealand). It should be done first thing in the morning right when you wake up. Ayurvedic texts recommend a copper tongue scraper, which is antimicrobial, but you can also use one made from gold, silver, tin, or brass. According to the California College of Ayurveda, you can also use a spoon or even a twig. However, you should avoid brushing your tongue, as that will only serve to push the bacteria around your tongue rather than remove it. Given the tongue is a pathway to your digestive system, consider giving your tongue a daily scraping and seeing if it helps detoxify your mouth and your body.