We’re hearing about tongue scraping (or tingling, as I like to call it!) every which way these days, but as with everything on the internet, you might be feeling overwhelmed with all the information on this practice that’s out there. Fear not, because I’ve put together an easy-as-ABC five-step guide for you to delve into this nurturing daily habit that takes just three seconds and hopefully answer all your questions.
1. What is a tongue scraper?
A tongue scraper is a nifty U-shaped metal device, often made out of copper, that’s used widely in India and as part of an Ayurvedic lifestyle to check in with your tongue and mouth health first thing in the morning. Tongue scraping helps to clear out the buildup that accumulates on your tongue overnight, as well as helping prevent infections, sore throats, sinus infections and blocked noses, and in the short term, prevent halitosis.
2. Why do you need a copper tongue scraper?
Copper is the most common material for tongue scrapers because of its antibacterial properties. Metal in general is used because just as we need a soft brush to clean our hard teeth, we need a hard tool to clean our soft tongue! Taken care of, it will last a very very long time, if not for your lifetime — and this shape is much better than the plastic ones you find at your dentist’s, which will be hanging around a lot longer than your lifetime (and not in a good way!).
3. How and when do I do tongue cleaning?
To use the tongue scraper, take the two ends in each hand, stick out your tongue, and guide the arch of the tongue scraper to the back of the tongue. Gently scrape forward and down several times, rinsing the white mucus off the scraper in between. Rinse the mouth once you are done, then wash the scraper with hot water after use and store in a clean, dry place.
Do this FIRST thing in the morning before you eat or drink anything (before breakfast!) or start talking, or give someone a kiss, which activates the salivary glands and means you start to reabsorb the very stuff that your body has been trying to kick out! You can also clean the tongue at night if you’re unwell. My other half and I started doing this 10 years ago and honestly, it’s not a nice feeling when we haven’t done it. It’s an Ayurvedic life-changer for a lot of people and takes seconds
4. How do I clean my tongue scraper?
You don’t need to clean your tongue scraper very often because the copper is naturally antibacterial — just rinse and wipe dry after use! If you do want to make it look shiny and new from time to time, you can take a thin slice of lemon, dip it in fine sea salt, and work it over the scraper, squeezing gently as you go and adding salt when needed. Then rinse with warm water and dry with a towel, and that’s it!
5. What can I use instead of a tongue scraper?
Errr, if I've ever forgotten mine, I’ve used spoons and credit cards. I prefer the latter. I don’t recommend either. Basically… just don’t forget your Tongue Tingler! Get your own here.
Troubleshooting: Not finding much on your tongue?
This can be an indicator that you have had interrupted or restless sleep. When we sleep deeply the body is able to do a good amount of rejuvenating work — hence something worth taking off your tongue. And if we wake up a lot and even drink then the body reabsorbs what's there. Sleeping with your mouth open is another reason that it might not be happening. If possible, it's best to nose breath but that’s a whole other story!!!