I had never heard of tongue scraping before I got into zero waste. When I heard about it from a book called the Gratitude Cleanse, I got my own. Now I can’t go a day without it! Not only does tongue scraping freshen breath throughout the day, it also has a powerful detoxifying effect on the body.
How it works
The origin of tongue scraping is in Ayurvedic practices, and there’s modern science to back it up. Overnight, our digestive systems stay active, removing toxins and harmful bacteria from our bodies and depositing them on the surface of our tongue. When you brush your tongue in the morning, it simply dislodges the gunk and you end up swallowing it - ew - and reabsorbing the toxins! Dental research shows that the action of using a tongue scraper is a more effective way to remove these toxins and bacteria, which aids our immune and digestive systems.
Using a tongue scraper also keeps your breath fresh by removing oral bacteria from your entire tongue, clears your taste buds so you can better experience the flavors of your food, and leads to increased dental health for your gums and teeth.
Tongue scraper, $9.00 at Eco Collective.
My experience with tongue scraping
The last time I got sick, I used my tongue scraper in the morning, and I noticed a lot of excess deposits and assumedly bacteria on the surface of my tongue. I knew I was getting sick because I had a sore throat, so I made sure to stay on top of the daily tongue scraping to remove as many toxins and bad bacteria from my body as it tried to release. I also took care to get some extra rest the first couple days and did a couple key things to relieve my symptoms. My grandmother always says an untreated cold lasts seven days but if you take medicine, it’ll only last a week… Her dry humor cracks me up. It’s true, an infection will stay in your body until it’s run its course, which usually takes about a week. That being said, I’ve noticed that if you take care of yourself and incorporate a few wellness practices, you’ll notice a difference in your energy and symptoms throughout the course of your sickness. For example, Because of a few things I did like hydrating, tongue scraping, and eating a diet packed with vitamins and nutrients (homemade broth!), my symptoms were less severe.
In stark contrast, the morning after spending a day in the spa and alternating between hot pools, steam rooms and cold plunges, my tongue scraper had practically nothing to scrape. Alternating hot and cold water is a ancient tradition from Roman, Greek and Nordic cultures and a proven way to activate your lymphatic system and flush toxins out of your body. Soaking in hot pools and then plunging into cold ones stimulates blood flow and changes in blood pressure which are what encourages the body to flush toxins. Hydrotherapy detoxed my body, meaning the tongue scraper didn’t have much work to do. I’ve enjoyed becoming more in tune with my body and reading the rich history behind this Ayurvedic practice.
Using my tongue scraper, I’ve noticed my breath feels fresher throughout the day and I start my morning feeling refreshed and centered. Because I’m more aware of the need to flush toxins out of my system every morning, I do a few other things like drinking warm lemon water and turning the water to icy cold for a few breaths at the end of my shower. I don't go a day without at least using my tongue scraper!
Have you tried using a tongue scraper? Do you notice a difference from day to day? Tell me in the comments.