You know that awful “morning breath” taste in your mouth first thing when you wake up? That taste that makes you want to jump out of bed and gargle with mouthwash STAT? Well, that fun little morning surprise might be trying to tell you something: it’s time to consider ayurvedic tongue scraping.
Tongue scraping isn’t just good for reducing morning breath. It’s also good for preventing plaque and cavities, improving gut health, and tasting your food better (no joke!).
Scraping your tongue might not be high on your list of oral health priorities. And you might think that your oral hygiene routine is fine, thank you very much. But if you’re serious about your oral hygiene and health, tongue scraping can really amp up your wellness routine.
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of confusion around ayurvedic tongue scraping. In this article, we’ll explore the 5 most common questions we get about the practice. Hopefully, this answers your questions and quells your fears about tongue scraping so you can give it a chance!
First, let’s look at the definition and history of tongue scraping.
What is Ayurvedic tongue scraping?
Ayurvedic tongue scraping is an ancient practice that dates back thousands of years. It’s rooted in Ayurveda, a holistic health/medical approach that was developed thousands of years ago in India. The ayurvedic approach aims to balance mind, body, and spirit, as the basis of most ill-health is caused by an imbalance of these.
Even today Ayurvedic practitioners examine the appearance of your tongue to give clues about bodily ailments and gut problems. Tongue scraping is a common practice in Ayurveda to remove toxins and more.
Dentists are now also understanding the importance of the practice, and most now recommend tongue scraping for helping against plaque, cavities, and halitosis (bad breath).
Without further ado, let us answer your burning questions about tongue scraping!
Your Top 5 Questions About
Ayurvedic Tongue Scraping Answered
1. Tongue scraping vs brushing your tongue: which is better?
A common misconception is that you can just brush your tongue to remove bacteria. When you brush your teeth, usually the last thing you do is a cursory brush of the tongue at the very end. You might be thinking, “I don’t need to scrape my tongue because I already brush my tongue regularly.”
But did you know that tongue scraping can remove 30% more bacteria than brushing your tongue alone? Dentists even agree that tongue scrapers are more effective than toothbrushes for cleaning your tongue.
Brushing your tongue just moves the bacteria around, whereas tongue scrapers pull it forward and remove it. And brushing your tongue with a toothbrush causes a lot more gagging than a tongue scraper. Toothbrushes tend to “grip” your tongue, causing discomfort.
Another reason tongue scraping is far more effective than simply brushing your tongue can be attributed to the shape of the scraper. With our stainless steel and copper tongue scrapers, you start at the back of the tongue and work your way to the front – the curved shape gives precise control and covers far more surface area
2. Should you scrape the tongue before or after brushing
We recommend ayurvedic tongue scraping before you brush your teeth, especially first thing in the morning. Did you know leftover bacteria on your tongue multiplies while you sleep, causing bad breath and promoting plaque? When you wake up, there’s a lot of “bad” bacteria hanging out on your tongue, and this is prime time for scrapin’. Drinking liquids or brushing your teeth before scraping just sends all those icky bacteria down the hatch! That’s why tongue scraping is Step #1 in the DrTung’s Ecosentials Oral Care Routine.
3. Tongue scraping side effects
Ayurvedic tongue scraping is generally safe but you do need to have a basic idea of how to do it. There are two main possible side effects of tongue scraping: injury and gagging.
Injury: If you’re not careful, you can cut or bruise your tongue. When you’re first starting out with ayurvedic tongue scraping, be sure to scrape lightly and do not apply too much pressure. Heavy pressure can harm your taste buds.
Gagging: While you’ll experience much less gagging from the tongue scraper than a toothbrush, gagging is still possible. This is generally normal when you’re first starting out, but you can easily overcome it. We recommend starting out small in the beginning and easing into it. If you have a very sensitive gag reflex, start in the middle of your tongue rather than at the back. Over time, you can go further and further back.
Remember that gagging is often psychological. It helps to breathe through your nose, and look up while you’re scraping, instead of closing your eyes or looking in the mirror.
4. Tongue scraper benefits
Ayurvedic tongue scraping with a high-quality metal tongue scraper has many benefits. In general, tongue scraping greatly reduces the bad-breath-causing bacteria in your mouth.
Tongue scraping can also improve gut health, and your tongue can even show signs of gut health issues. Digestion starts with your mouth, and if you’re not cleaning your tongue, you could be swallowing bad bacteria.
Another one of the great benefits of cleaning your tongue is that it actually improves your sense of taste. You’ll be amazed at how much better that glass of wine or fancy latte tastes when your taste buds are clean. Who knew that a coating of bacteria could be depriving you of sensory joy!?
Check out our previous blog post about the benefits of tongue scraping to learn more.
5. Copper tongue scraper vs stainless steel tongue scraper
Copper tongue scrapers and stainless steel tongue scrapers are both made of high-quality, rust-resistant metals that are impervious to bacteria. This makes them great alternatives to plastic, which leaches chemicals and can harbor bacteria.
Stainless steel is sturdy and the easiest to care for. This very effective, yet affordable version requires no special handling. It’s especially great for traveling — just pop it in the travel bag and toss into your toiletry kit. To clean, simply rinse, pat dry and store in a dry place.
Copper has the added benefit of being naturally antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal. It is softer than stainless steel and requires a bit more care and gentle handling. Daily cleaning is similar to the stainless steel but be sure to dry it well after use. Also, you may periodically wish to give it a good cleaning with lemon juice and salt.
Choosing between one or the other, it could come down to your aesthetic, or perhaps adherence to Ayurvedic principles. Copper has been traditionally used and prescribed for centuries, long before the advent of stainless steel. And of course, copper itself is an important trace element and has antiviral properties. Regardless of your choice…both of them will last for years with proper care.
Ready to tame your horrific morning breath? Or for less plaque? Or to taste that cup of coffee as if for the first time!?
There are lots of reasons to try ayurvedic tongue scraping, and we hope we demystified it for you. Give it a try — make it the #1 step in your oral routine and see what a difference it can make!
We have everything you need to get a head start on your tongue scraping routine! Shop our copper and stainless steel tongue scrapers.