Why You Should Use a Tongue Scraper
Updated: Jan 15
So, I know that many of you are over 2020. I get it; it has been an incredibly hard year. Here's the thing though - we have a little over three months left. That is more than 25% of the year available for us to make positive changes. We still have an undeniable agency and power to take control of our lives, even if that means making small but meaningful adjustments to our daily routines.
With that pep talk in mind, I want to talk about a positive change we can make to our morning routine that is easy, affordable and impactful: using a tongue scraper.
Before we dive into Ayurvedic tongue scraping, let's take a moment to remind ourselves why we should care about maintaining a healthy morning routine.
The Benefits of a Healthy Morning Routine
The morning sets a powerful precedent for the rest of the day. Have you ever noticed that if you eat a donut for breakfast, come lunch time you find yourself craving cookies? The choices you make in the morning impact the rest of your day.
One of the most important steps we can take to empower ourselves each morning is to find ways to cleanse the five senses. We've discussed the benefits of Abhyanga and morning self-massage as a method of cleansing your sense of touch. Today I want to talk about the benefits of maintaining your oral health.
Let's Talk About Oral Health
Today we are talking about oral health because it’s the starting point for our Gastrointestinal track. We can learn a lot about the state of our bodies from our GI track. For example, if you are experiencing chronic bad breath, even after you brush your teeth, this is a sign of toxins in the body.
If you look at your tongue in the morning, you may notice a white or yellow coating resting atop it. In Ayurveda, we call this Ama. Toxins, bacteria and dead cells can build up on our tongues, especially after sleeping. When you see this coating, take it as a sign that you need to clean your tongue. You can try the following methods to begin your oral health routine:
Swish Cleansing Liquids in Your Mouth
Hot Water - When you swish hot water around in your mouth in the morning, the act cleanses any leftover toxins from your GI track.
Coconut Oil - Also known as oil pulling, coconut oil pulls the bacteria from your mouth while its cooling properties ease Pitta irritations.
Sesame Oil - Another form of oil pulling, sesame oil works similarly to coconut oil but provides a warming quality that addresses Vata imbalances.
Cold Milk - Some of my clients have had a positive experience swishing cold milk in their mouths in the morning. The cooling properties sooth many GI issues like heart burn and acid reflux.
Brush Your Teeth With Ayurveda in Mind
Once you're finished swishing cleansing liquid in your mouth, it's time to clean your teeth. In Western culture we tend to opt for very sweet flavors of toothpaste. We even give our kids bubblegum and candy flavored tooth paste.
In Ayurveda, however, the cleansing tastes are considered to be bitter, astringent and pungent. I recommend more natural toothpastes like Auromere, which still taste pleasant (like licorice!) but incorporates more cleansing effects.
The Benefits of Ayurvedic Tongue Scraping
Once you've swished cleansing liquid around your mouth and brushed your teeth, it's time to take out your Ayurvedic tongue scraper. It may sound strange but trust me, once you incorporate tongue scraping in your morning routine, you won't want to go back.
For those who don't know, a tongue scraper essentially cleans and removes the coating of toxins on your tongue. My favorite tongue scraper is a stainless steel model from a Dr. Tungs. It's a less than $10 investment that you'll use every morning for the foreseeable future. You can easily clean it with soap or by boiling it in hot water.
Something to note: in Ayurveda, many experts recommend using a copper tongue scraper. I tend to recommend the stainless steel version to my clients as copper rusts. However, either metal works great.
Now that we know what it is, let's talk about some of the benefits of using a tongue scraper.
Gives you that fresh-from-the-dentist feeling
Removes toxins and bacteria leftover from your GI track
Gives you fresher breath
Can prevent dental decay
Helps prevent cavities and gum disease
Improves the appearance of your tongue and teeth
How to Use a Tongue Scraper
If you're wondering how to use a tongue scraper, rest assured, it is super easy. Simply start from the back of the tongue and pull the tongue scraper forward. Check the top photo to see what the device looks like for reference.
Gently scrape the tongue 4-5 times and rinse the bacteria from the device between each pull. Be sure to check and make sure there is no blood on the device or in your mouth. This is sign you are putting too much pressure on the tongue scrapper as you pull. If you have any questions or concerns about the method, check out the second-half of the video below, which will show you how simple it is.
If you are nervous about gagging, try starting from the middle of your tongue. As your comfort level with tongue scraping grows, you can move the device farther toward the back of your mouth.
Lastly, if you are working with an Ayurvedic health counselor, be sure to inform them of the color of your Ama. The tongue is like a map of the body. This information can give your counselor a helpful understanding of the state of your organs, digestion and GI track.
Take Back The Reigns of Your Oral Health
When I was a kid, I was afraid of going to the dentist because I had a lot of cavities. I know a lot of adults who dread making that yearly visit to this day. Know that you have the power to improve your oral health with these simple steps. Tongue scraping will improve the appearance and feel of your mouth. This small act of self-care for your body sets a healthy precedent for the rest of your day.
Are you curious about the benefits of tongue scraping? Do you want to know more about Ayurvedic practices that aid your oral health? Schedule your free breakthrough session and we can get to the root of any dental health and/or physical ailments that you need to address.