Do I Really Need a Tongue Scraper?

tongue scraper

A History of Tongue Scraping

A tongue scraper is a metal tool used to clean the white coating (plaque) off your tongue. Initially put into practice by Ayurvedic practitioners in ancient India, it was believed that the health of the tongue was vital to the health of the body. It wasn’t until hundreds of years later that science confirmed a healthy mouth equates to a healthier immune system.

Tongue scraping was first introduced as a method of removing toxic debris (known as Ama) that could accumulate on the tongue and eventually lead to disease in the mouth and the body. According to Ayurveda, tongue scraping can also help you taste your food better.

Do I Need a Tongue Scraper?

Ancient beliefs aside, modern science has since proved the benefits of tongue scraping. According to the American Dental Association, tongue cleaning can help reduce bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease (basically everything that plagues the modern mouth). This is because the tongue can be a reservoir of periodontal pathogens: bacteria known to grow into disease over time.

We remove these bacteria daily when we brush and floss our teeth, but the tongue is often overlooked resulting in any manner of ailments including breath and body odor, mental fog, body aches or weakness, and digestive disturbances such as diarrhea or constipation.

Over 80 million people experience chronic halitosis, or bad breath. In most cases, it originates from bacteria build up on the tongue or gums. Also caused by lack of stimulation on the tongue, approximately thirteen percent of the population experiences what is known as hairy tongue—a sometimes painful (and definitely unsightly) build-up of a protein called keratin on the tongue that results in a dark, furry appearance. A black hairy tongue can be caused by too much bacteria or yeast growth in the mouth. The bacteria build up on the papillae that lie along the surface of the tongue. Instead of shedding as they normally do, the papillae start to grow and lengthen, creating dark, hair-like areas across the tongue.

How to Use a Tongue Scraper

Thankfully, cleaning your tongue is a quick addition to your morning ritual. To get started, simply buy the tongue scraper of your choice from an online retailer like Amazon or in your local drug or grocery store. Most will keep them near the toothbrushes. Each morning when you wake up stick out your tongue and place the tongue scraper as far back on your tongue as is comfortable. Pull the scraper towards the tip of your tongue, removing the white coating off as you go. Rinse any residue off the scraper with water, then repeat until you can no longer collect any more coating from your tongue.  

By using a tongue scraper daily, you’ll be well equipped to extend the health of your mouth, as well as the health of your body. And you’ll be amazed at how much cleaner your mouth feels! Of course, tongue scraping is only one way to tackle your oral health. Contact us to schedule your bi-annual cleaning to ensure that your mouth stays as healthy as possible.

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