Is Your Mouth Dirty? Yes.

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If you are not scraping your tongue daily than your mouth is …..EW. But this is ok. It’s not a common practice in the West

This is me gently trolling this recent New York Times article on tongue scraping. Tongue scraping is an ancient Ayurvedic practice but the health and wellness department at the New York Times didn’t get the memo. They couldn’t even go through the trouble to do a quick search on Google. Let me help you out NYT. Here’s how it starts.

According to WebMD “It’s been around for at least a couple of thousand years. The Romans did it. The Victorians did it. Even George Washington, famous for his dental troubles, did it”. That’s right.

Let’s dig in

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The tongue is a breeding ground for bacteria, food particles and dead cells that accumulate between the papillae. Approximately 85% of all halitosis cases have their origin within the mouth; of these, 50% are caused by tongue residues

Here are some benefits of tongue scraping

  • Decreases bacteria in the mouth that compromises gum, teeth and oral health
  • Decreases volatile sulfur compounds (VSC), by-products linked to bad breath
  • Improves taste, sensation, and reduces coating
  • Reduces putrefaction and decreases bacterial load
  • Most importantly, you’ll feel more confident smooching your beloved

Tongue Coating as Diagnosis

Ayurvedic physicians use tongue analysis to better understand patients current imbalances or Vikruti. Coating on the tongue indicates “Ama”, this is the accumulation of improperly digested foods that obstruct the intestinal tract. This coating builds up on the tongue as either yellow/green, grey/brown, or white in color. They indicate toxins and that certain symptoms are present.

  • yellow/green indicates excess Pitta (heat/inflammation)
  • grey/brown indicates excess Vata (dry/cold)
  • white indicates excess Kapha (cold/heavy/wet)

The appearance of your tongue is a reflection of your health. A healthy body will have a tongue that is full, moist, and light pink in color. It will be free from colored coating, ridges (especially along the sides), bumps, cracks, etc. These are just some examples of what Ayurvedic practitioners look for when diagnosing your tongue.

The tongue texture, thickness, color, and shape changes along with your health. This is something you can monitor once you start scraping your tongue.

How to Scrape Your Tongue

  • Do this first thing in the morning after brushing teeth (do not scrape tongue in the evening).
  • Stand in front of the mirror, stick your tongue out. Make sure it’s relaxed and not straining.
  • Place the U-shaped tongue scraper as far back as you can (comfortably), and gently press against the tongue while moving the tongue scraper towards the tip of the tongue
  • notice the color and thickness of the coating you remove. Rinse the scraper
  • repeat 7-14 times
  • Do not press so hard that the tongue bleeds
  • Enjoy your new clean mouth and smooch at your discretion

Magnolia is a Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist practicing in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Who is she? How can I work with her?


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