Tongue Scraping and its benefits have been overlooked. I've grown up with this daily practice, however it's not a common practice in western culture, something I did not realise growing up, I just thought everyone else did it too! Like packing cuts and grazes with ground turmeric to stop the bleed and encourage healthy healing, this was the norm in my childhood (I was born and brought up in London), but soon realised this was not common practice either!!
Tongue scraping comes from an ancient Ayurvedic practice and effectively cleans the tongue removing debris, bacteria and dead cells that can build up on the tongue over time. This build up can lead to bad breath and house a significant number of bacteria resulting in improper eating, poor digestion, and also reflect an imbalance in the gastrointestinal system.
The tongue is a mirror to the organs of your body, and a daily look at your tongue prior to scraping can give you clues to your general health.
As part of my nutritional therapy consultations, a tongue examination is a useful way for me to help evaluate the health of the body. Getting into the practice of examining your tongue, is an opportunity for self-awareness, where you can reflect on the choices of the last several days, months, or years to see how those choices have affected your health. If you notice a thick coating, then you are accumulating toxicity. By noting this, it gives you the opportunity to become more self-aware and make new, healthier choices.
Using a tongue scraper to remove this toxic build-up can benefit your health by:
- increasing your taste reception - by eliminating the need to add more sugar, salt, or excessive spices to food to make it more flavorful. Many of the beneficial phytonutrients and “body signals” that your food contains are first interpreted when food is in contact with receptors on your tongue. Improve this communication between your food and your body by removing any coating that is interfering with that connection.
- increase satiety - as your taste reception improves so does your satiety meaning you are less likely to over eat as you are more receptive to the taste of your food.
- removing bacteria - daily tongue scraping reduces the overall incidence of bacteria such as mutans streptococci in the mouth which are known to cause bad breath and dental decay.
- improving oral health - removing bacteria from the tongue is not only key to tongue health but also helps improve overall oral and dental health when combined with tooth-brushing
What type of Tongue Scarper to use:
It's best to keep things simple and use a tongue scraper that is easy to clean and not sharp. I use a very simple stainless steel tongue scraper which you can see on the Shop tab under the Lifestyle section here.
How to scrape your tongue:
The tongue should be gently scraped from back to front for about 7 to 10 strokes. The scraper can be rinsed off between strokes if there is a lot of accumulation. If you stimulate your gag reflex you are either scraping too hard and/or going too far back into your throat. Start gently and more forward on the tongue to avoid gagging.