Tongue Scraping

The Amazing Benefits of Tongue Scraping.

With all the advancements of modern Stomatology, along with a deeper understanding of the mouth as a whole, and the functions and actions of its microbiota, more and more people are turning to alternative cleansing techniques to maintain their level of oral hygiene.  One need only look back a few years to find nearly every brand of toothpaste was fluoridated and organic toothpaste (unless homemade) was non-existent. 

As the actions played by microbiota of the mouth becomes more mainstream, yet again people find themselves trying out and embracing age-old techniques that are ever-increasingly popular, and which seem to be finding a solid footing in modern science. In this edition of Ayurveda, a way of life, the main focuses pertains to one routine practice (backed by numerous studies). The routine practice is called tongue scraping in the west or Jihwa Prakshalana within in Ayurveda. 

Tongue scraping, as the name indicates, is the simple process of scraping any accumulation or residual build-up, off of the tongue before completely cleaning your mouth. Studies have shown that this simple technique has various benefits,  and oil-pulling is steadily garnering a steadfast following and an equal amount of exposure in the west as an integrative aspect of dental cleansing.  it is a hugely beneficial ayurvedic technique that essentially completes the oral hygiene cycle that begins with oil pulling. 

Tongue scraping has numerous benefits; below we have listed a few of them: 

Tongue scraping vastly decreases harmful bacteria which collects in the mouth and can seriously decrease the oral health of teeth, gums.  It creates the reduction of volatile sulphuric compounds (VSC), which are by-products of mouth bacteria associated with halitosis.

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Your sensation of taste improves due to the reduction of bacteria and Ama coating your tongue. Tongue scraping stimulates, facilitates and activates biochemical changes within the mouth environment that results in a reduction of putrefaction and a decrease in the harmful bacterial load. 

One of the Ayurvedic texts, the Charaka Samhita, traditionally indicates that tongue scrapers could be made from gold, silver, brass, tin or copper, all of which were metals that were both available and workable in ancient times.

However Copper was the preferred medium due to in natural antiviral and bacterial properties.

Toxins called Ama would collect on the back of the tongue, which could result in various underlying factors, such as halitosis, sleep apnea or respiration and stress.  When certain bacteria compounds found on both the tongue and also in the oral cavity they can cause several catabolic actions to the proteins of the mouth, and volatile compounds made of sulfur  (VSCs) are released. The direct result of this is bad breath or a breath tone that is familiar to copper pennies.

Studies conducted on the benefits of tongue scraping have confirmed it to be an effective technique in reducing the sulfur compounds daily. In fact, one particular study shows tongue scraping greatly out-performs tooth brushing in accomplishing this! This does not, however, make it a substitute for brushing one’s teeth, it is merely an additional action that should be performed to obtain optimum oral health and all the related benefits it brings to one’s body.  

Why the choice of Copper? 

While both silver and gold were made use of in the past to create tongue scrapers, new research on copper and its health benefits seem to make a copper tongue scrapers hard to top when it comes down to their overall benefits in hygiene. As a metal with bacteria-resistant properties, Copper has been used for centuries, with new studies regularly confirming these ancient teachings and applications of old.  

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Copper may be the best metal to be used when making a tongue scraper for the mouth. Cooper is highly conductive, with its positive and negative ions being in constant flux it simultaneously encourages beneficial bacteria and negates the commonplace bacteria which serve no beneficial purpose.

Copper not only also provides important enzymes that are needed for healthy microbes in the mouth to survive, but seems to be toxic to the bad bacteria in the mouth. In one clinical study, the antiseptic benefits of copper were so profound, that when placed in hospital rooms as furnishings, the overall bacteria count on all of the surfaces of the rooms were significantly impacted. 

Beyond the benefits of oral hygiene, after tongue scraping, brushing, and flossing the teeth, if one drinks a large glass of warm water it kick-starts the digestive process. By stimulating the taste buds with tongue scraping, not only is the tongue better able to perceive tastes and digest foods, but a surprising side effect is that this taste bud-activation also engages the lower intestines to initiate a complete bowel elimination first thing in the morning. 

A copper tongue scraper not only offers great oral hygiene benefits while scraping the tongue but additionally will also continue to fight bacteria from building up on the tongue even between scrapes! 

How to Scrape Your Tongue 

The best time to scrape your tongue is as part of your morning oral hygiene routine after you have done your oil pulling, which you should do firstly, as soon as you awake. Stand in front of a mirror, open your mouth, and stick out your tongue, keeping it relaxed and flattened. 

1. Gently set the rounded end of the tongue scraper at the back of your tongue. If you experience a slight gag reaction, ( and you may well) don’t be discouraged, 

2. if it’s on your first few attempts it’s beneficial as it helps to releases the ama and mucus coating the back of the throat, however, you may find it helpful to start at the middle of your tongue. You can gradually start from farther back as you get used to scraping. 

3. Gently touch the scraper to your tongue. Slowly pull it forward, toward the tip of your tongue. You should never push the scraper from the tip of your tongue back. Always go from the back of the tongue to the tip. 

4. After each scrape, rinse your scraper or use a washcloth or tissue to remove debris from the scraper. 

5. Repeat until you’ve scraped the entire surface of your tongue about five to seven times. 

6. Wash the tongue scraper with warm water and soap, dry, and store in a clean, dry area. 

7. Once the scraping is complete, brush with a fluoride-free toothpaste. 

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