People are sometime religiously following their skincare routine, but how are we when it comes to dental hygiene? We all know that regularly brushing your teeth (at least twice a day or after every meal), using mouthwash and flossing is good for our teeth. However not much attention is dedicated to tongue scraping.
What is tongue scraping?
Over time, coating or residue builds up on your tongue. Tongue scraping is actually using a scraping tool to remove this residue. This residue which forms in the crypts, cracks and irregular surfaces on our tongue it is an ideal place for bacteria and bugs to build up.
Registered Dental Hygienist magazine, did a research and according to it, there are over 20 billion bacteria in your mouth. Of course, not all of that bacteria is bad and can cause dental problems. Some of it is actually good and creates a beneficial environment in your mouth. And those that are bad, can cause bad odor.
Bad odor/breath or halitosis is defined as offensive breath odor which is mostly caused by tongue coating or gum disease.
Some of you brush your tongue with your toothbrush but this doesn’t actually help. When you brush your tongue, you aren’t actually removing the residue, you’re just moving it around. Mouthwash can help you with the bad breath, but in order to really get rid of the residue, it needs to be physically removed. Think of your tongue as a carpet that you need to keep clean.
Neglecting tongue scraping can cause serious residue buildup and turn the surface of your tongue white. So next time you look in the mirror and see that you tongue has a white coat on it, it’s time to scrape it.
Tongue scraping can not only lead to a better oral hygiene, but it can also be art of your mindfulness routine where you start or end the day by removing the toxins or stress of that day.
It’s believed that tongue scraping has its root in holistic medicine and that it originated in India thousands of years ago. In Ayurveda (tongue scraping was part of an ancient Ayurvedic ritual) it was believed that tongue scraping helps you collect all the toxins from your tongue and prevent you from swallowing them back into your system. Furthermore, not only does tongue scraping clean your tongue, but it is also said that it can sharpen your taste buds.
The thing about sharpening your taste buds might even be true. Some research indicates that using a tongue scraper twice a day can significantly improve the sense of your taste. This is because after using a tongue scraper, you remove the residue from your taste buds which can then better distinguish bitter, sweet, salty and sour taste.
How to do proper tongue scraping?
If you’re keen on giving tongue scraping a go, here are some useful tips on how to do it properly:
- Open your mouth and stick out your tongue as much as you can. This should provide better access and make the scraping easier. Try to keep your tongue ‘relaxed’ so avoid pointing your tongue. This is important because pointing your tongue actually decreases the surface area and scraping won’t be as affective.
- Take your scraper and rinse it
- Place the scraper on the back part of your tongue and start scraping
- When scraping, make sure that you apply firm pressure on the scraper and that you use slow and smooth motions when pulling the scraper from the back of your tongue to the front. This way the scraper will remove any coating or residue
- After every scrape, make sure that you rinse the scraper and wash off the residue
- This motion should be repeated 4-8 times per session. That should be enough to remove the residue.
- Once you’re done, make sure that you thoroughly clean your scraper. And in order to keep the scraper for a long time, you should also periodically disinfect it with boiling water.
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