Oral hygiene stretches far beyond brushing simply your teeth every day: say hello to tongue scraping!
If you’ve never heard of this ancient Ayurvedic practice, it basically works by dragging a small rounded metal or plastic tool down your tongue. While scraping definitely doesn’t replace toothbrushing, it’s a good step to include in your daily oral hygiene routine.
What are the benefits of tongue scraping?
According to Healthline, tongue scraping removes the build-up of bacteria, debris and dead cells from the surface of your tongue. Removing these particles from your tongue can actually help to improve your sense of taste and heighten the taste of sweet, salty, bitter and sour flavours.
Tongue scraping is also a great remedy for bad breath. According to one study, roughly 85% of all halitosis (bad breath) cases begin in the mouth. Researchers found that participants who used a tongue scraper found a 75% reduction in volatile sulfur compounds (the main cause of halitosis), while the toothbrush achieved a 45% reduction. While tongue scraping does make an impact on your breath, you have to be consistent in your scraping habits to reap the benefits.
Poor oral hygiene can also contribute to a compromised immune system, according to the Mayo Clinic. The mouth is the entry point to your respiratory and digestive tracts, so it makes sense that a build-up of harmful bacteria could find it’s way into your body. So, by using a scraper, you’re regularly clearing away any bacteria that are hanging out on your tongue’s surface.
How to use a tongue scraper
There’s lots of conjecture on whether you should scrape before or after brushing your teeth. While this is completely up to you, this popular tongue scraper brand advises doing it before brushing your teeth.
- To use, simply stand in front of a mirror, open your mouth wide and stick out your tongue.
- Gently place the rounded end of the scraper at the back of your tongue.
- Slowly begin to drag the scraper forward on your tongue, making sure to only bring it down the tongue and never pushing it back up your tongue’s surface.
- The scraper will have visible debris on it (gross but oh so satisfying!) so thoroughly rinse the scraper under a running tap or use a washcloth to wipe it down.
- Repeat this roughly two to three times, making sure to clean the tool between each scraping.
- After you’re done, wash the instrument with warm water and soap, then let it dry. Repeat twice daily before brushing your teeth.
While this practice is completely safe, be careful when putting the tool into your mouth. It can be uncomfortable if you accidentally stimulate your gag reflex with the scraper. Always apply gentle pressure when using on your tongue as well.
Where to buy a tongue scraper
There are heaps of different tongue scrapers on the market and most of them are pretty inexpensive. So, feel free to have a look around online and see what one takes your fancy. Otherwise, the tongue scraper by Dr Tung’s (below) is super easy to use and comes with a little bag to store your scraper in between uses.
Dr Tung’s Tongue Cleaner, $9.95