Tongue scrapers were originally made of metals such as copper, silver, gold or brass. Copper tongue cleaners may be beneficial to use as copper has natural anti-bacterial properties. The mouth can breed a host of unwanted organisms which can lead to receding gums, tooth decay, gingivitis, weakened enamel, bad breath and more. Oral hygiene is critical in maintaining healthy gums and teeth - tongue cleaning, in addition to regular brushing and eating a balanced diet, can be a simple healthy routine to incorporate into your day.
By scraping the tongue, first thing in the morning before brushing your teeth, you can remove the thick white film that develops on your tongue overnight. This coating known as "ama" in Ayurveda is considered as toxic waste. By removing this waste material (rather than swallowing it down in the morning), we can reduce the toxic load in our digestive tract, improve our taste, reduce bad breath and reduce chances of upper respiratory tract infections. Tongue scraping also is said to activate the taste buds which activates the digestive tract and supports healthy elimination.
How to do tongue cleaning:
1) Before brushing your teeth, observe your tongue in the mirror. Notice any changes as you observe it each day.
2) Use your tongue scraper to scrape the tongue from back to front. Repeat this 3-5 times, rinsing the cleaner each time. Reach as far back as you can.
3) You will notice a thick film on the tongue cleaner which will reduce each time you tongue clean.
3) Observe your tongue once again and you will notice less white coat and your tongue will feel 'clean'
4) Brush your teeth as you would normally, and you can do a round of 'oil-pulling' (coming up in a later blog!)
5) You may do this daily - after some time, if you skip a day, you will feel the difference and wonder how you ever managed without tongue cleaning !
Tongue cleaning is an effective daily hygiene routine (dinacharya) that has long been used in Ayurveda, and is now increasingly being recognized by dentists for the associated health benefits.