How & Why To Use A Tongue Scraper

reading time: 3 min

Episode 1.

If you are a frequent reader of my blog, you may know that I try to incorporate Ayurvedic practices into my daily routine. That includes oil pulling, drinking boiled water, adding turmeric to my morning oatmeal – and using a tongue scraper after brushing my teeth. Sounds scary? Don't worry, it's actually totally pain free and easy to do! 

Tongue scraping is an ancient Ayurvedic method and part of the daily self-care practice to improve oral health and hygiene. Did you know that almost half of our oral bacteria live on and in the deep crevices of our tongue?!

Once you get over the gag-urging feeling of sticking a U-shaped metal piece in your mouth and seeing the gross gunk that was coating your tongue, you will be left with a squeaky clean feeling tongue and a fresh taste in your mouth :)

What You Will Need For This Method

  • a stainless steel or copper tongue scraper (I got mine for 3 bucks at our local health food store – you can also easily get one online, such as this one or this one)
  • your tongue

Some people will use their toothbrush to clean their tongue, but as a matter of fact, dental research has concluded that a tongue scraper is more effective at removing toxins and bacteria from the tongue than a toothbrush! Although brushing and flossing will loosen and move debris around, they do not actually remove the bacteria.

You know those built-in tongue cleaner on the back of a toothbrush? Yeah, don't use those. Instead, invest in a proper tongue scraper like the one you see in the picture – a long, thin, flat piece of stainless steel that is bent in a "U" shape. They are very inexpensive! 

The Benefits of Tongue Scraping

  • it detoxes naturally by removing bacteria, food debris, fungi, toxins, and dead cells from the surface of the tongue
  • it treats bad breath (which is usually a result of the accumulated bacteria on your tongue)
  • it increases taste sensation by better exposing your taste buds
  • it boost your immunity by preventing toxins from being reabsorbed into your body
  • it massages the reflexology zones on your tongue, stimulating the respective digestive organs

How To Use a Tongue Scraper

1. Lean over the sink. Open your mouth and stick out your tongue. Try to relax your tongue.

2. Holding each side of your tongue scraper, place it as far back on you tongue as possible. If you feel a gagging sensation, that's too far.

3. Gently scrape the surface of your tongue from back to front in one stroke.

4. Rinse the scraper after each stroke.

5. Repeat until there is no white residue coming off your tongue. It usually takes me about 5-10 strokes until my tongue feels clean and is free of coating.

6. Rinse your mouth. Wash scraper well. Done!

You can also use a regular stainless steel spoon instead of a tongue scraper to remove the white coating on your tongue. Insert the spoon into your mouth, turning it upside down. Of course, don't insert it as far as to trigger the gag reflex 🙂 Now draw the spoon "forward" or outward with firm but gentle pressure. Do this several times, cleaning the spoon in between each stroke. Rinse the spoon thoroughly to remove the bacteria.

How Often Should You Scrape Your Tongue?

Basically, use it every time you brush your teeth. So twice a day. The most effective order of Ayurvedic oral hygiene is: do oil pulling, rinse your mouth with warm water, brush your teeth, scrape your tongue, floss. Feel amazing :)

I have been enthusiastically tongue scraping for almost 10 years now (!), and I love it. Even my boyfriend uses his tongue scraper daily now :) Honestly, when I just brush my teeth without scraping my tongue afterwards, it doesn't feel as clean as it would with a scraped tongue. In fact, I don't see how anyone could try tongue scraping once, see the gunk you remove from your tongue, and not do tongue scraping regularly!  

Have you ever tried tongue scraping? How do you feel about it? 
Let me know in the comments!