Do you scrape your tongue? The unusual ayurvedic technique you might want to try


If the thought of scraping your tongue sounds like some Colgate commercial gone awry, you’re not alone.

Tongue scraping might seem a little odd to the uninitiated, but this ancient ayurvedic technique may point to some interesting oral health benefits. 

Where it all it began

Did we lose you at ayurvedic? Let’s take a step back. Ayurvedic medicine – or Ayurveda – is a system of traditional medicine originally hailing from India. 

It encompasses a whole range of techniques – from yoga and breathing exercises, to massage and acupuncture, to diet and herbal remedies, to sound therapy and detoxification – all with the aim of promoting holistic wellness and balancing the body’s three doshas (or vital energies).

Ayurveda practitioners believe their approaches can be effective in treating a range of issues, from stress and anxiety, to digestive problems, allergies, arthritis and autoimmune disorders.

So where does tongue scraping come into all of this? 

Tongue scraping is another Ayurvedic technique that seeks to promote harmony and balance in the body. As one of the major gateways between our inner and outer self, Ayurveda practitioners believe that keeping this gate in tip top condition is critical to our general wellbeing.

According to Ayurveda, tongue scraping clears toxins, bacteria, and dead cells from the tongue to prevent bad breath and promote better oral and digestive health. Some practitioners go so far as to suggest that a regular tongue scrape revitalises and enhances the sense of taste! 

While there hasn’t been many conclusive western scientific studies around this practice, there is evidence to suggest that cleaning your tongue helps remove more bacteria than the toothbrush alone. And anything that keeps the bad breath at bay, our pearly whites and our gums healthy is surely worth a shot.

Ready to give it a try? 

If you’re ready to get tongue scraping, first you’re going to need the right tool. A tongue scraper looks king of like an elongated, skinny horseshoe with handles. They come in a range of materials from plastic to copper to stainless steel – you can pick one up online for around $10 AUD. 

From an Ayurvedic perspective, tongue scraping should be performed on a daily basis (much like cleaning your teeth). The practice itself is pretty simple, just set the rounded point of the horseshoe on the back of your tongue and scrape forward. You’ll want to repeat a few times to ensure you catch all the gunk. Hello, clean tongue!

Remember: Always talk to your doctor before starting complementary therapies and never stop taking any prescribed conventional medicine or alter the dose without the knowledge and approval of your doctor.

Self-careKhara Williams