Show me your tongue! I can show you mine without any embarrassment. Read to know that Tongue Cleaning is a daily detox regime in Ayurvedic and Yogic practices.
When I was learning Ayurveda at school the first change I made was adding a tongue cleaner beside my toothbrush. Now the habit is such that I can go on without brushing but NEVER without tongue cleaning. I find is annoying that I did not pick this habit from my father – who cleaned his tongue first thing in the morning using a stainless steel tongue cleaner. It is sad that I didn’t pick one of the best oral hygiene routine that my father followed throughout his life! Oh well, now no one can stop me and it is all good.
Why use a Tongue Cleaner?
Ayurvedic and yogic practices recommend “tongue cleaning” (Jiva sodhana) as a part of your daily cleansing routine. A tongue cleanser is an oral aid that helps remove harmful bacteria, undigested food, scum, mucus and nasal drips that accumulate at the back of our mouth. So now we know why Tongue Cleaning is a critical part of your daily oral hygiene routine. Note that this habit is suitable for all three doshas – so no excuse for not cleaning your tongue!
The surface of the tongue is a breeding ground for bacteria. These organisms can cause infections in the teeth and gum and are responsible for bad breath.
Charaka said, “The dirt which is collected at the root of the tongue, creates obstructions in respiration and produces a foul smell, hence one should scrape their tongue.”
How to use a Tongue Cleaner?
Ideally you must use the tongue cleaner first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. I am in the habit of using my tongue cleaner before I brush or floss my teeth.
- Before using clean your tongue cleaner with fresh or filtered water.
- Add 1 drop of essential oil – I use peppermint or fennel before I start to scrape. (This is an optional step)
- Open your mouth, extend (stick out) your tongue and hold both the edges of the tongue cleaner tightly with your index finger and thumb.
- Bring the back end of tongue cleaner (the round part) inside the back of the tongue with a light but firm pressur.
- And then bring the tongue cleaner forward skimming off the white coating on your tongue.
- Gently glide or scrape the tongue 6 – 7 times (up to 14 times), until the entire surface of the tongue is cleaned.
- Rinse the out the tongue cleaner using liquid soap and use cold water a few times.
- You can now expect a pleasant and fresh feeling in the mouth.
To summarize start at the back of the tongue, work progressively from back to front until the surface of the tongue is completely clean. Use gentle but firm strokes, You can repeat this action many times until the white residue is completely emoved. You can perform tongue cleaning once or twice a day depending on toxin accumulation on your tongue. Caution: do not injure the tongue by pressing too hard or doing too many repetitions.
Cleaner your Tongue Cleaner:
Keep your tongue cleaner clean. I use unscented glycerine soap to gently clean mine. You can also use lemon juice or any essential oil to clean yours. I also dry my tongue cleaner and put it away in a brush holder/box.
The right Tongue Cleaner for you:
Traditional Ayurvedic practice discourages using life-less plastic tongue cleaners and encourages tongue cleaners or scrapers made from metals such as gold, silver and copper depending on your dosha.
- Gold is recommended for Vata because it has a warming effect.
- Silver is recommended for Pitta because it has a cooling effect.
- Copper for is recommended for stimulating Kapha dosha.
- Tin, brass and stainless steel tongue scrapers are tri doshic or suitable for all three doshas.
I am a Kapha therefore I use the copper tongue cleaner. I also recommend using copper as a metal for any dosha over plastic. You can surely find stainless steel ones very easily.
Benefits of Tongue Cleaning:
- Eliminates halitosis or bad breath hence recommended first thing in the morning.
- Gets rid of the white coating (forms during the night), toxins and bacteria on the tongue.
- Gently enhances the functions of the taste bud.
- It is designed in a way that when you scrape further back on the tongue you would not experience a gag reflex.
- This practice not only cleans tongue but the whole mouth and additionally reduces the chance for infections in the gum and teeth.
- This oral hygiene practice strengthens the immune system.
- Tongue cleaning gentle stimulates our internal organs.
- Tongue looks super clean without the unattractive white (sometimes yellow) coating.
- The coating on the tongue reveals the health of our organs and digestive system. Cleaning the tongue therefore helps improve your digestion and elimination.
- Tongue clean forces you to notice the coating in the tongue. This coating indicates if you have built up toxins in your digestive system or have a stressed digestive tract. Having this knowledge will help you to understand your body better.
Note if you notice the white coating on your tongue multiple times a day than you must have a stressed digestive system. Now you are empowered to take action to correct your digestive system such as eating smaller portion, reducing acidic foods (processed junk) or introduce Triphala (herbal formula) in your daily regime.
Tell me if this blog helped you to improve your oral hygiene and health. Post a comment below telling us which dosha are you and what type of tongue cleaner have you used?
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- Mcintyre, Anne, “The Ayurveda Bible”, A Firefly Book, 2012.
- http://theida.com/ayurveda/the-beauty-of-simple-aryuvedic-practices-to-enhance-your-vitality-ojas-and-to-serve-as-steps-to-aging-with-grace-and-beauty[amazon asin=&text=Amazon][amazon asin=http://www.amazon.com/Copper-Tongue-Scraper-Cleaner-FREE/dp/B000I6LXRU/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1373904894&sr=8-2&keywords=Copper+Tongue+cleaner&text=Amazon]