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What is Tongue Scraping, How Should I Do It, and Why Does It Matter?

The tongue is a strong indicator of your overall health, so it's surprising so many of us forget to give it the time and attention it deserves. The simple and gentle practice on tongue scraping is hugely beneficial and only adds 20 seconds a day to your oral care routine.

 Read on to learn:

  • What is tongue scraping?
  • Why should you clean your tongue?
  • Tongue Scraping vs. Brushing
  • Good Mouth Bacteria vs Bad Mouth Bacteria
  • Eww...what's that white fuzz on my tongue?

What is tongue scraping?

Tongue scraping is a practice that has been used for thousands of years in Ayurveda, the oldest health and wellness system in the world. 

Tongue scraping is a practice that has been used for thousands of years in Ayurveda, the traditional Indian system of medicine. I know what you're thinking: ancient Indian medicine? Why would anyone listen to its wisdom?

In this case, I'd suggest taking a serious look at the benefits of tongue scraping. Most people think that brushing their teeth and tongue twice a day does the trick when it comes to oral hygiene. Well, the truth is that even the most conscientious brusher only removes about 60 percent of bacteria in the mouth. It's because we miss those hard-to-reach areas on our tongues' surface (and no one is perfect). And by not properly removing that white coating or debris on your tongue, you ingest those toxins back into the body with every swallow and bite your take. Tongue scraping can help with all that excess gunk and keep you from taking in any unwanted toxins. 

Ayurvedic and Western medicine agree that the tongue’s appearance offers a window into overall health.

The appearance of your tongue can reveal a lot about your overall health. The most important aspect of tongue diagnosis, for Ayurvedic practitioners and Western doctors alike, is the appearance of any cracks or lesions. If you see these on your tongue—especially if they’re painful, persistent, or bleeding—it’s a good idea to get them checked out by a doctor. They could be caused by oral cancer or even HIV infection. But more than likely, chances are you won’t have anything to worry about; small fissures in the tongue are often an indicator of dehydration or nutrient deficiencies.

If you don’t have any obvious sores or lesions on your tongue, it still might not be completely healthy-looking. Coating on your tongue can indicate digestive issues; excess bacteria and yeast buildup can lead to foul breath and stomach problems (which may also cause bad breath). A white coating could mean that you need some probiotics in your life—talk with your doctor about how to get more friendly bacteria into your body.

 Ayurvedic tongue diagnosis chart
Image sourced from: scribd.com

Why should I clean my tongue?

There are hundreds of tiny crevices running along the surface of your tongue -- and they are the favorite hiding spots for harmful bacteria that enjoy feeding on the leftover food and dead cells that got stuck in these crevices. This harmful bacteria throw epic parties and multiply faster than you can blink while you sleep, as they like to take advantage of the time when you have less saliva in your mouth so they can't be washed away.  

This is why you may wake up with that white coating on your tongue and your breath smelling..well...unsexy. 

Gently removing this coating with a tongue cleaner each morning and each evening is a basic step in assisting your body’s natural detoxification processes. 

How Do I Use The KÖPPEN Tongue Scraper?

Step 1: Hold Your Tongue Scraper Up & Open Your Mouth

Scraping Your Tongue

Step 2: Gently but firmly press the tongue scraper to the back of the tongue and move it towards the stick. Do this 3-4 times. 

 

Step 3: Clear your mouth of the build up and wash it with warm water. And voila, that's it! Welcome to your new routine! A healthier you awaits.

   

I already brush my teeth, floss, and use mouthwash. Isn't this enough? 

Modern medicine has shown that scraping your tongue with a tongue scraping is significantly more effective at removing bacteria and maintaining strong oral hygiene than scraping your tongue with your toothbrush bristles, flossing, and swishing around the latest minty mouthwash.

A toothbrush mostly just moves bacteria around on your tongue, instead of scraping it off, and floss only removes what's accessible in between your teeth.

Mouthwashes usually contain alcohol which mask breath for a short time, but then the alcohol dries out your mouth leading to worse breath. Some recent research suggests it can also kill off some of the good microbes hanging out in your mouth..YIKES!

scraping your tongue with tongue scraping versus brushing your tongue with toothbrush benefits
Good vs. Bad Mouth Bacteria...tell me more.

As with anything in life, there is good and bad, and the bacteria in our oral microbiomes are no different. Anaerobic bacteria (aka the bad stuff) and aerobic bacteria (aka the good stuff) are the two types of bacteria on your tongue. Ideally, you want to have more aerobic bacteria than anaerobic bacteria.Unfortunately, when our mouths are dry, anaerobic bacteria has a field day and multiples really fast causing overgrowth. 

When is your mouth dry? When you smoke, drink alcohol, take certain medications, breath through the mouth a lot (eg while exercising) and...while we sleep!

This is why its especially important to tongue scrape in the morning: because there is an accumulation of bad bacteria that grows on your tongue during the night when you have dry mouth - throwing the delicate balance between bad and good bacteria out of whack. Your body alerts you to this fact through.. your morning breath! 


Ewww...what's the white fuzz on my tongue?

As much as we'd love to tell you that white fuzz is a great new accessory and full of nutrient rich bacteria, we're here to keep it real, and the truth is that white fuzz is a thick layer of bacteria, debris, food particles, and junk that got stuck in the nooks and crannies of your tongue. But it's not all bad news, friend. Using a tongue scraping gently will remove this coating making way for you to show off that bright pink tongue in your next selfie. 

TIP: You should wait at least 30 minutes after eating or drinking before scrapping your tongue so it does not encourage tooth erosion or damage to taste buds.

Tongue coating can also impede taste receptors and make food less tasty. It’s made up of dead cells, bacteria and other crud that accumulates on your tongue throughout the day. It’s particularly bad in the back of the tongue, where our ability to taste is weakest. If you don’t remove it, it stays on your tongue until dissolved by saliva or brushed away during meals. Yum!

You might be thinking that eating food throughout the day will help brush away this nasty coating from your taste buds but this actually isn’t the case. The crud simply dissolves into smaller particles when food rubs against it, but doesn’t get removed completely. It does eventually get swallowed though…

Can't stop thinking about the white gunk on your tongue now...look no further, tongue scraping to the rescue!

 

If you're like me and find the idea of scraping your tongue more appealing than the actual doing of it, try to get into the habit of doing it at least once a day (preferably in the morning before brushing) so that any potential bad breath issues don't arise. The first few times I did mine, I noticed some white staining on my tongue that quickly resolved after three or four days.

"When in doubt, scrape it out," is something I just made up but is also a pretty good motto to live by. It takes just a few seconds and really does make a difference in your overall health.

 

Ready to try tongue scraping? Check out our 100% copper tongue scraper, meant to help you keep all the good, remove all the bad, and look good on your bathroom counter. 

 

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