Digestion starts on the very first bite. The saliva secreted by your mouth and tongue are the first step to breaking down your food, and turning it into the energy you need to power your day, so it makes perfect sense that we should be keeping our mouths in tip top shape. We brush our teeth twice a day, floss, and visit the dentist, but we often neglect our tongues. Despite doing most of the exciting work in our mouths, they get the least amount the attention. If you haven’t heard of the practice before, tongue scraping is a perfect addition to your daily oral hygiene routine and will ensure that your tongue is as happy and as clean as your teeth.
Why is it important to spend a little bit of time a day thinking about your tongue? Because your tongue has a huge job to do, and throughout a rough day of eating, accumulates a scum on its surface that contains food debris, hundreds of thousands of living and dead bacteria and compounds like sulfur which are expelled by the bacteria. This can increase risk of illness, decrease dental hygiene and cause extremely bad breath.
Proper Tongue Scraping Procedures
Really, tongue scraping is one of the easiest things to do to improve oral health. We’d even go as far as saying it’s easier than brushing your teeth. Before you begin, find a tongue scraper that suits yours tastes (no pun intended), there are a wide variety on the market and because they are such simple tools, there isn’t really much difference between the styles. The most important part of tongue scraping is the timing, because throughout the night is when the build-up occurs within the mouth, so tongue scraping must be performed in the morning. It also must be done before you have ingested any food, any water or brushed your teeth. This will ensure that all the garbage that accumulated on your tongue will be removed and not reabsorbed into the body.
Open wide, and start at the back of the tongue, slowly moving forward. Rinse after each scrap and continue until the scraping produces no more gunk. According to the experts, most of the bacteria live at the back of our tongues, therefore pay particular attention to this area in order to seriously clean it off each morning. Considering nearly half of our oral bacteria live in the deep crevices of our mouths, cleaning the tongue each morning can have some serious benefits.
Better than a Toothbrush
Just because you already clean your tongue with a toothbrush doesn’t mean you are off the hook. A toothbrush is not as effective as a scraper for removing the bacteria that builds up between the tiny bumps on your tongue called papillae. It also cannot effectively clean the back of your mouth, where the majority of the nasty bacteria gather. Making an extremely small investment into a tongue scraper will boost your oral health far beyond anything a toothbrush can do.
1. Improves Digestive Health
It’s worth repeating, that digestion begins in the mouth. The tongue is typically the first contact food makes with the digestive system, and the tongue facilitates foods’ initial movements around the oral cavity. When the tiny papillae, which are each covered in thousands of tastes buds, come into contact with food, they trigger the secretion of saliva, which begins the process of digestion. By cleaning off these tiny papillae, it allows for the proper function of the taste buds and therefore proper saliva production. Your tongue just works better when the taste buds are clear and can properly do what they were meant to do.
2. Avoids Halitosis
It might be gross, but it is a part of many people’s lives. There is an entire industry devoted to reducing the effects of bad breath, but the secret is out now – all you need is a tongue scraper. Cleaning off the tongue each morning, effectively cleans off all the unwanted bacteria floating around in there. This bacteria is responsible for the poor taste in your mouth, and the smell. Clinical studies have shown that through daily tongue scraping (always aiming for the nasty build up at the back of the tongue), effectively reduces the build-up of bacteria and is able to reduce the occurrence of halitosis.
3. Improves Flavor Perception
The liberation of your taste buds is probably the first thing you will notice once you start tongue scraping. If you remove the build-up, suddenly your taste buds have a lot more to taste. It will make food more flavorful and unblock clogged taste buds for full taste liberation.
4. A Great Addition for Total Oral Health
A clean tongue benefits the rest of your mouth as well. By removing the build-up on your tongue each morning, you are also removing the potential plaque build-up from your teeth. The scum removed from your tongue, if left to migrate around your mouth during the day, will eventually turn into plaque on and between your teeth, and this obviously starts to deteriorate the enamel, leading to cavities.
5. Improves Immunity
Oral hygiene has been directly linked to a deterioration in immunity. Some research has theorized that periodontitis and tooth decay can cause some serious illness and disease, such as endocarditis and cardiovascular disease. Periodontitis has even been linked to premature birth and birth defects.