The Benefits of Tongue Scraping
Cleaning your tongue with a tongue scraper dates back to ancient times in India, but its benefits have recently gained a lot of attention in the West. Scraping your tongue stands to reward anyone willing to give it a try, and it is worth understanding the advantages a tongue scraper has to offer your overall health and well-being.
In this article:
- Ayurveda’s Perspective on Tongue Cleaning
- How Do You Know if You Should Clean Your Tongue?
- The Tongue—the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
- The Benefits of Scraping Your Tongue
- How to Scrape Your Tongue
- Including a Tongue Scraper in Your Daily Routine
- Buying a Tongue Scraper
Ayurveda holds that the tongue shares a direct connection to several of the body's vital organs, including the heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, spleen, and stomach. What’s more, Ayurveda teaches that the tongue reflects the health and well-being of these organs, so regularly inspecting the tongue is an excellent way to gauge your overall health.
Many systems of medicine, including Ayurveda, use tongue diagnosis as a window into the internal workings of the body. This is one reason doctors have you stick out your tongue.
Different parts of the tongue are related to the lungs, the heart, the stomach, the liver, the spleen, the kidneys, and the intestines. A tongue scraper gently removes toxins from the tongue itself and simultaneously stimulates, massages, and cleanses the associated organs and deep tissues.1
Because the tongue reflects the health of so many vital organs, systemic imbalances (and improvements) are reflected on the surface of the tongue. Using a tongue scraper daily allows you to take note of any significant changes that may indicate variations in your own internal state of balance.
Our bodies are constantly exposed to toxins from our food, beverages, and the environment; even our own metabolic wastes and unresolved emotions can lead to toxicity. When toxins are not properly digested and eliminated, they accumulate in the body and begin to compromise our well-being and immunity. Signs that toxins have begun to accumulate in the body are:2
- A white coating on the tongue
- Foul-smelling breath or body odor
- Mental fog or confusion
- An overall sense of stagnation or weakness
- Generalized body aches
- Diminished appetite
- Fatigue or lethargy
If you identify with one or more of the above, chances are that there is some level of toxicity in your system.
In some cases, bad breath is the result of some sort of periodontal problem, and it is, therefore, a good idea to see your physician or dentist if halitosis (or bad breath) is a recent condition.
Halitosis is a condition that can have a tremendously negative impact on a person’s life, relationships, and self-esteem. Current research indicates that most cases of halitosis (85–90 percent of them) are a result of the metabolic outputs of naturally occurring bacteria inside the mouth, most of these on the surface of the tongue.3
The very back of the tongue provides a particularly hospitable environment for many anaerobic bacteria because it is relatively undisturbed by normal activity in the mouth, it is drier than other parts of the mouth, it tends to be poorly cleansed, and it often harbors a number of substances on which the bacteria feed—tiny remnants of food, dead epithelial cells, and postnasal drip, to name a few.
These same bacteria have been implemented as players in periodontal problems, accumulation of plaque, tooth decay, and gum ailments, and there is mounting evidence that these bacteria are also linked to several systemic pathologies.4
Our bodies are constantly exposed to toxins from our food, beverages, and the environment; even our own metabolic wastes and unresolved emotions can lead to toxicity. When toxins are not properly digested and eliminated, they accumulate in the body and begin to compromise our well-being and immunity. Tongue scraping is one preliminary measure to take in clearing your body from the unwanted buildup of toxins.
Other benefits of scraping your tongue include:
- Clearing toxins, bacteria, and dead cells from the tongue to prevent bad breath
- Enhancing the sense of taste
- Promoting overall oral and digestive health
- Gently stimulating the internal organs
- Increasing your awareness of your state of health
Those are only a few of the amazing benefits of tongue cleaning. Below, we'll get into some of the deeper benefits that regular tongue scraping can bring to your oral hygiene routine and overall health.
Tongue Scraping for Balanced Oral Bacteria
The bacteria in our mouths are a necessary part of our natural flora and, when in balance, they actually help protect against other potential issues.5
It's true that good oral hygiene can help keep bacteria in check so that they can serve their purpose without wreaking havoc. Using a tongue scraper to scrape the tongue gently dislodges bacteria, as well as their food source, and is, therefore, one of the most effective means of combating tongue bacteria.
A healthy mouth and fresh breath are understandably very high on the priority list for many people. Clinical studies have shown that the daily use of a tongue scraper results in a significant reduction in the anaerobic bacteria that cause bad breath and other problems.6, 7, 8
In addition to brushing your teeth and flossing, the Ayurvedic practices of tongue scraping and oil pulling can have a tremendous impact on your oral health.
Tongue Scraping for Improved Digestion and Taste
Amazingly, the benefits of using a tongue scraper reach far beyond the bounds of oral hygiene and fresh breath.
In Ayurveda, proper digestion is the cornerstone of health—it is literally the process by which our daily intake of food nourishes our tissues and ultimately, our state of consciousness. Healthy digestion also protects the body against the accumulation of toxins and ensures the proper elimination of wastes.9
The good news is that Ayurveda offers a myriad of tools for cleansing your system of these toxins. A tongue scraper is a fabulous way to start. And if you’re not sure how to clean your tongue with a tongue scraper, it’s super easy!
- Ideally, a tongue cleaner is used every day, upon rising, and on an empty stomach.
- Hold the two ends of the tongue cleaner in both hands.
- Extend the tongue and place the tongue cleaner on the surface of the tongue, as far back as is comfortable.
- Gently pull the tongue cleaner forward so that it removes the unwanted coating.
- Rinse the tongue cleaner and repeat as necessary, usually 3–5 times.
- Follow this step with oil pulling, and you are ready to start your day with a beautiful fresh mouth.
A note on cleaning your tongue cleaner: Banyan’s is stainless steel, which is naturally antimicrobial. Rinsing your tongue cleaner in hot water will suffice to keep it clean. For added measure, you can always wipe it down with an alcohol swab on occasion, but this is not necessary on a daily basis.
For more detailed instructions, watch this video on how to scrape your tongue:
Having a daily routine is one of the most important tenets of Ayurveda. As the body becomes accustomed to the predictability of doing the same things at roughly the same time every day, the nervous system begins to relax.
A morning routine, in particular, affords us an opportunity to prioritize those things that are most important while setting a positive tone for the entire day.10 A typical Ayurvedic morning routine would include meditation, grooming practices (including the use of a tongue scraper, brushing the teeth with tooth powder, and practicing oil pulling), exercise, and bathing.
Adding the use of a tongue scraper to your daily routine assists the body in eliminating toxins that have accumulated in the mouth overnight. It also massages and awakens the internal organs, stimulates the digestive capacity, and ensures that you start your day feeling as fresh and clean as possible.
Banyan’s tongue cleaner is specifically designed to maximize the benefits of scraping the tongue daily. It mirrors the design of the tongue scrapers that have long been used in India. The wide shape is designed to cleanse tongues of all shapes and sizes and offers a broad area for cleaning the entire tongue with each stroke.
Banyan’s tongue scraper is made of premium quality stainless steel and is manufactured in the USA. It is sturdy and long-lasting—the only tongue scraper you will ever need!
For more ways to support your oral health, check out our complete collection of oral health products.