In a world fussing over trendy dental care routines, it's important to remember some of the most effective practices have been around for centuries. We are talking about a daily ritual that not only elevates your senses but also revitalizes your oral health -- Tongue scraping. It is an ancient practice rooted in Ayurveda that offers a multitude of benefits.
As we delve into the depths of this time-honored technique, get ready to embrace a practice that not only cleanses your tongue but also rejuvenates your overall well-being, offers a fresher breath, a sharper palate, and a deeper connection to the wisdom of ancient wellness.
Ayurveda and tongue scraping
Ayurveda places significant emphasis on the value of maintaining and enhancing health through personal hygiene practices. As outlined in the dinacharya (daily routine) section of Ayurvedic teachings, cleaning the tongue each morning constitutes a crucial component of daily1 personal hygiene rituals that ought to be diligently observed. In Ayurveda, the tongue is considered a mirror of the body's internal health. The shape, color, coating, or texture—indicates the state of your overall health. Thus, Ayurveda talks extensively about tongue health and practices to maintain it and a part of these practices is tongue scraping.
Tongue scraping or jihwaprakshalana is a traditional Ayurvedic practice that involves cleaning the tongue's surface to promote oral and overall health. Tongue scraping is believed2 to remove toxins, bacteria, and coating that accumulate on the tongue overnight.
Why perform tongue scraping?8
As mentioned above, our tongue is important not only for the sense of taste but also as it performs various other functions. When our body removes toxins or ama from our body, some of them get deposited onto the surface of our tongue and if we fail to scrape them away, they get reabsorbed into the body and may potentially lead to problems including loss of taste, bad breath, etc. Therefore, it is important to clean and scrape our tongue to maintain its optimal health.
When and how to do tongue scraping?
According to Ayurvedic wisdom, tongue scraping should be done on a regular basis in the morning. By cleaning teeth and tongue one can get rid of bad breath (halitosis), or taste disorders (dysgeusia)
The ideal tool to perform the ritual could be a U shaped tool made of either gold, silver, copper, tin or brass2. However, the tongue scraper should not be sharp. The market is full of plastic tongue scrapers too, but they are comparatively difficult to maintain and do not last as long as metal scrapers do. You may also make use of a spoon if you don't have a tongue scraper; gently scrape from the back of the tongue until the whole surface is clean.8
Relax your tongue.
Gently scrape the tongue from back to front using the tool.
Repeat the process 5-10 times.
Do not forget to rinse the scraper after scraping.
Benefits of tongue scraping
According to Ayurveda and modern day research, there are several benefits associated with tongue scrapping. Some significant benefits include:
Oral hygiene and bad breath: Tongue scraping, rooted in traditional wisdom, aligns with contemporary oral hygiene recommendations, providing a holistic approach to maintaining a healthy and fresh smelling mouth. Tongue scraping helps remove bacteria and debris responsible for bad breath, thus improving oral hygiene. Tongue scraping leaves the mouth feeling clean, fresh, and revitalized.
According to modern day research3 a vast majority of bad breath cases have their root causes in the mouth, and half of those are attributed to by tongue residues including bacteria. The study concluded that tongue scraping is an effective strategy for improving breath.
Removal of unwanted substance: The tongue's surface provides an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive. This bacterial accumulation not only contributes to bad breath but also impacts overall oral health. Beyond enhancing our sense of taste, tongue scraping plays a pivotal role in the removal of bacteria from the tongue's surface. Tongue scraping effectively removes bacteria4, preventing their proliferation. This reduction in bacteria contributes to a healthier oral environment. By removing bacteria from the tongue, tongue scraping can potentially indirectly support gum health as reducing bacteria levels can contribute to a decreased risk of gum inflammation or other periodontal issues.
Enhanced taste perception: Clearing the taste buds through tongue scraping can enhance the sense of taste, allowing you to enjoy food more fully. Tongue scraping is a simple yet often overlooked oral hygiene practice that can have a potentially significant impact. The ancient practice of Ayurvedic tongue scraping is a revered daily ritual that goes beyond oral hygiene, impacting our sense of taste. According to modern day research5,using a tongue scraper twice daily can improve your sense of taste.
Improves digestive health: The practice of tongue scraping offers profound benefits for promoting a healthy gut. It is an age-old practice rooted in ancient traditions that acknowledge the interdependence of different bodily systems. A clean tongue influences the balance and efficiency of the digestive processes that occur throughout the gastrointestinal tract. Regular tongue cleaning helps eliminate these harmful substances, preventing them from entering the digestive system and affecting gut health. A study6 also revealed that tongue cleaning may be effective in improving digestive power from Ayurvedic viewpoint, and oral health-related quality of life .
Other benefits: Research7 also suggests that after scraping their tongues every morning for four weeks, people reported substantial improvements in constipation, and foul-smelling and watery stools.
In the realm of Ayurveda, the practice of tongue scraping holds a significant place as a daily ritual for maintaining overall well-being. The practice involves gently cleaning the tongue's surface to remove accumulated toxins, bacteria, and debris. By embracing this practice, you engage with an ancient tradition that promotes digestive health, detoxification, and overall vitality. It is important to remember that tongue scraping is an embodiment of the deep connection between our oral health and body's equilibrium.