As the function of the microbiota of the mouth becomes more understood, ancient techniques to support oral hygiene are becoming more popular. One practice backed by numerous studies is called tongue scraping (Jihwa Prakshalana).
Tongue scraping is a simple practice of scraping the tongue before brushing the teeth. Studies have shown that this simple technique:
- Reduces undesirable bacteria in the mouth that compromise gum, teeth, and oral health. (1)
- Reduce volatile sulfur compounds (VSC) that are by-products of mouth bacteria that are linked to bad breath. (2)
- Increase the function of taste buds to better taste and digest food. (3)
- Changes the environment of the mouth to reduce putrefaction and decrease bacterial load. (4)
Copper may be the best metal to be used for tongue scraping is because the mouth is loaded with good and not so good bacteria. Copper not only seems to be toxic to the bad bacteria it also provides important enzymes that are needed for the healthy microbes of the mouth to survive. (5)
In one study, the antiseptic benefits of copper were so great that when copper was put in hospital rooms as furnishings the surface bacteria count on all the surfaces in the hospital room was reduced. (6) Some hospitals are now incorporating copper furnishings as part of their anti-bacterial strategies.
A copper tongue scraper will not only offer greater oral hygiene benefits while scraping the tongue it will also resist bacterial accumulation while not using the tongue scraper.
How to Scrape Your Tongue:
- First thing in the morning right after you wake up. The very first thing you can do is scrape your tongue. Even if you wake up in the middle of the night, scraping the tongue followed by a drink of water can reduce accumulating digestive ama (toxins).
- With a relaxed tongue, use your U shapes tongue scraper and gently reach to the back of the tongue and scrape the tongue from the back to the front of the tongue. Repeat this 5-10 times reaching back as far as comfortable rinsing the scraper after each pass. A slight gag can help bring up some mucus and ama from the back of the throat.
- Follow tongue scraping with brushing (non-fluoride toothpaste), flossing and a large glass of water. This can be followed by oil pulling while showering to complete an Ayurvedic oral hygiene routine.
- Get into the habit of scraping your tongue right before every brushing.