What is Tongue Scraping and Should You Be Doing It?

Full disclosure: this article is about to use a lot of cringe-worthy vocabulary (read: scraping tongue, saliva, yeast, etc.). I thought “moist” was my least favorite word in the English language until I had to say “gag reflex” approximately 100 times in this article (OK, it was just a couple times and that was a slight exaggeration, but you get my flair for drama at this point). However, it’s also one of the wellness routines that has changed my life and my health, so it’s worth it to me to type out “gag reflex” more often than I ever hoped I would have to as a service to the public. You are welcome, public!

Now that we have that PSA out of the way, let me introduce you to the simple-yet-effective practice that is missing from your daily routine: tongue scraping. Tongue scraping is essentially using designated tools to remove extra particles and bacteria from the surface of your tongue. While it’s currently #trending on social media, it’s nothing new. It’s actually really, really old.

Tongue scraping is a practice from Ayurveda, an ancient form of medicine. Ayurveda teaches that we can learn a lot from our tongues. Not only can our tongues help determine our doshas (or mind/body types), but they can tell us about the state of our health. You can find out if you have yeast overgrowth, because the toxins and bacteria actually stick around on the surface of your tongue. Eating or drinking with these toxins and bacteria in your mouth causes you to re-ingest them in your body (I warned you, cringe-worthy!).

So for all you wellness warriors and health gurus out there, before you sip on your warm lemon water in the morning, and FOR SURE before your oat milk matcha latte, for the love of God, scrape the hell out of your tongue. Here’s why and how to do it:

 

Benefits of Tongue Scraping

Let me be frank with you for a second — we don’t like to think about what’s going on in our mouths (I mean, we brush and floss so it should be clean, right!?), but bacteria, dead cells, and toxins can build up on the surface of our tongues while we’re sleeping and in sedentary position for extended periods of time (yes, even if you brush your teeth really really well). Scraping in the morning gets rid of all of the bad bacteria and toxins that have formed a layer on the surface of our tongues overnight. Benefits of tongue scraping include:

 

 

The Right Way to Tongue Scrape

First of all, you need a tool. The tip of a spoon can be used in a pinch but nothing will remove bacteria and dead cells like a tool that’s designed to do exactly that. There are a lot of plastic options out there, but try to go the stainless steel route, since it’s better for your health. Stick your tongue all the way out and slowly pull the scraper from the back of your tongue (or middle, if you’re worried about the ~ gag reflex ~) — I know, it’s beginning to sound like an erotic novel. Rinse the scraper, clean off with a tissue or clean towel, and repeat one more time. Store in a clean, cool place and wash with soap often for optimal benefits. Scrape whenever you brush your teeth (morning and night!). Your tongue has never been cleaner!

 

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