How and Why to Use a Tongue Cleaner
Using a tongue scraper or cleaner is an ancient Ayurvedic technique that has become popular today for treating Halitosis or “bad breath”. But it has many additional health benefits and can be an important tool for your detox program as well.
While you sleep at night your body is busy clearing out toxins. Some of those toxins are deposited on your tongue as a coating. During your detox, your tongue might develop a thicker coating or taste strange when you wake up. By gently scraping this coating off first thing in the morning you avoid reabsorbing these toxins and help your breath smell better.
Bad breath is a common detox symptom. Your tongue is one of the escape routes for toxins trying to leave your body. These toxins cause mucous and bacteria to build up at the back, or root, of the tongue and create a white film. This film harbors millions of sulfur-producing bacteria that cause bad breath. It also inhibits optimal dental hygiene and the functioning of your taste buds. When you start to detox this symptom might get a little worse before it gets better.
Tongue Scrapers also aid with weight loss and craving reduction!
The ancient Ayurvedic healing philosophy of India has recommended tongue scraping for centuries as an aid to digestion and for the health of the teeth and the sinuses. When the salivary glands are cleaned, it activates them and enhances digestion (yes, digestion begins in the mouth as saliva mixes with food and begins to break it down).
Your taste will also be improved with a clean tongue surface that allows the taste buds optimal functioning. This is essential to creating healthy dietary habits. When your taste buds are clogged up by film and bacteria your body won’t receive the proper signals from its food. Satiety is signaled by flavors. That means if you can’t truly taste your food you’ll want to eat more than you need because you’ll never feel fully satisfied.
Cleaning the tongue with an appropriately designed tongue cleaner also massages the tongue. This is an important element of traditional Chinese medicine – the tongue surface is identified as an important reflexogenic zone.
Tongue cleaning revitalizes the throat and keeps the sinuses cleaner by reducing bacteria that can travel into the respiratory system. Many people who have struggled with sinus infections, sore throats, throat infections*, and chronic bad breath, may find added relief through regular tongue scraping.
Dentists are now recommending tongue cleaning to keep the mouth clean and reduce odor.
How to Use a Tongue Scraper
Some people will use their toothbrush to clean their tongue. This practice tends to just stir up the bacteria instead of actually removing them from your mouth. And the moist brush is more likely to hold and harbor the bacteria and must be replaced often. The use of a tongue scraper is much more effective.
Traditional tongue scrapers are made from copper, tin, gold, silver or stainless steel. Today you can also find them in plastic, but we recommend a steel or metal version for effectiveness and less toxicity from the actual material. The modern designs have a single handle, but an Ayurvedic scraper is shaped like a U.
How to use a traditional U type scraper:
- Hold each end with your hands and reach the arch to the back of your tongue as far as possible.
- Scrape forward several times, rinsing the white film off of the scraper between each scraping. It’s important to get the back of the tongue which may create a gag reflex, but this will lessen with practice. Be gentle but firm as you scrape.
- Rinse your mouth with water.
- Clean and dry your scraper with water – you may want to occasionally use toothpaste or baking soda to disinfect.