Did you know human bite is often considered far more dangerous than animals’? A human bite causes infections in more cases than, for example, a dog’s bite. One could just imagine colonies and colonies of bacteria inhabiting our mouth hole. This fact may make you wonder about your mouth hygiene. Humans’ mouth, teeth and tongue, in particular, are friendly soil for bacteria growth and development. A tongue is especially fertile ground for bacteria, which is the reason to make you pay an extra attention to tongue hygiene, in addition to regular teeth brushing and mouthwash.
According to ancient Ayurveda, our tongue is a mirror of our overall health. You’ve surely noticed changes on your tongue are always associated with some sort of illness. Ayurveda practitioners have been considering proper tongue hygiene the first step of maintaining a healthy organism, centuries ago. According to them, the process of digesting food begins the very same time we ingest food, in our mouth. Deposits that could be seen on the surface of our tongue could tell us a lot about our overall body condition. Abnormal tongue plaque is always the sign of organism disbalance and it is to be removed, in order to treat the problem or prevent the development of possible health issues.
To Ayurveda practitioners, cleaning of tongue is a regular part of the daily routine, the essential segment of overall daily organism cleanse. They say deposits that gather in our tongue’s root area could affect our health, making obstacle for normal breathing process.
Moreover, they produce unpleasant odor and look repulsive. Healthy tongue should be clean, pinkish and of a fresh sensation, without any cracks, spurs and abnormal deposits.
How should your tongue look like?
Before suggesting practical tips on proper tongue cleanse, let us first see how a healthy tongue should look like. It is important to overview its essential characteristics, such as its color, shape, deposits, humidity and veins. Its appearance could tell you a lot about your health. Healthy body is always reflected in a healthy looking tongue.
It should be of a pink, spotless color. It suggests your tongue has normal blood flow and circulation. A tongue should be flexible, elastic, with a smooth surface. The surface should never have any cracks, swellings or look thinned. The tongue itself should be calm, meaning you control the moves. Shaking, stiffed or limb tongue always incline something’s going wrong in your body.
A healthy tongue should be without any deposits or with a barely noticeable plaque of white coloring. Easily noticeable deposits that occur in large amounts are always a sign of intoxication of some sort.
For example, abnormal white deposits suggest an excessive intake of dairy products, while dark and brownish might be associated with kidney, liver and digesting tract problems. The tongue should be moist in moderate amount, neither too wet nor too dry. The veins at the back of the tongue should be barely visible, of a normal thickness and coloring.
If you notice any uncommon tongue coating and coloring or other abnormalities, please go and see a doctor. Regular tongue check might help you recognize symptoms of some health issue in time and prevent you from an illness progression.
Tongue hygiene tips
Now when you know how much it is important to keep your tongue in good shape and dedicate it special attention, you should learn how to provide it with a proper treatment.
There are several steps to clean your tongue in a proper way, although it is still not so common part of Western hygiene routine. Daily tongue cleanse has been practicing in India for centuries, as a part of overall individual health care.
Using tongue scraper
Tongue cleaner tools have becoming more and more popular in Western medical, hygiene and health care. Tongue scrapers, once used only in ancient India, could now be found on our market. They could be made of various materials, such as stainless steel, brass, bronze, gold, silver and plastic. They are all practical, no matter of material.
However, you could give a try to different materials, in order to determine which one suits you best. Plastic scrapers are not endurable over time, but they are inexpensive; you could purchase a larger number of them and frequently change them. Stainless and copper are also common. They would last longer and are suitable for sterilization in hot water, so you could safely use them repeatedly. There are also scrapers with silicone edges that are very easy and comfortable to use, without any risk of hurting your tongue.
Tongue scrapers are tools of a simple shape and style, designed in order to thoroughly and gently remove the undesired coating from your tongue. Recently, many different companies have started to produce tongue cleaners of all sorts. Do some research and find out which has the best references, in order to choose the most suitable one.
Tips for use – Once you’ve chosen and bought your tongue scraper, it is time to learn how to use it properly. In order to remove all the deposits from your tongue, you need to extend it to its full length. That way you would have full access to its overall surface. It would also help you avoid discomforts, such as choking reflex and such. Start scraping your tongue from the back to the front. Always use such a direction, repeatedly. Don’t rush and be gentle, in order to avoid any damage of the skin. Take your time to do it properly and remove all the sediment.
After you’ve finished, rinse your mouth. You could use mouthwash or simply do it with fresh water. Keep in mind alcohol based liquids could cause drying of your mouth. Hydrogen based liquids are advised to be used in situations when bacteria deposits in your mouth are too persistent and abundant.
Tongue brushes are relatively common, compared to tongue scrapers, but they could also be found. Those are specially designed brushes for tongue cleaning. According to researches, they are equally successful in removal of bacterial tongue coating. Tongue brushes are used the same way as scrapers.
Toothbrushes with features
Toothbrushes that include a tongue scraping feature built in on their backside are also quite common. They are found to be equally effective as other tools. Their effectiveness is not limited because they are not separated tools. Toothbrushes with features for tongue scraping are practical and useful. They are applied the same way as the previous two tools.
A common toothbrush is not recommended for tongue cleaning. It is made for brushing your teeth and is not efficient in removal of bacteria plaque from tongue. It might seem it helps, but it doesn’t remove all of the bacteria sediment.
The best time to clean your tongue
There has been much talk about the frequency of teeth brushing and tongue cleaning. While some experts claim it shouldn’t be done much frequently, because aggressive brushing could cause tooth enamel to decay and lead to various gum problems and so on, others are of an opinion frequent teeth brushing and tongue cleaning could prevent the development of bacterial colonies that cause tooth infections and other issues. According to Ayurveda, tongue scraping should be performed on a daily basis.
However, all of them would agree it is best that tongue cleaning be the first thing you do in the morning, after waking up. Bacterial plaque normally builds up in our mouth during our sleep. It is of a great importance to protect yourself from ingesting it.
So, before you make your breakfast or pour some morning coffee, clean your mouth thoroughly. Brush your teeth and clean your tongue, using some of the mentioned tools. It won’t take you much time, but would prevent numerous health problems. It is also advised to clean your tongue each time you do your teeth. The most common practice is to do it at least twice a day, in the morning and in the evening.
Most of dentist would suggest you always finish your mouth hygiene routine with tongue scraping and mouthwash. This way you’ll be sure all the leftover material is removed from your mouth. It should be something you do regularly.
Benefits from daily tongue cleaning
You’ve already learned tongue scraping could improve your overall health in many ways. It is both aesthetically and medically important. Regular tongue scraping improves your breath; removal of dead cells, food leftovers, bacteria deposits would prevent the development of unpleasant mouth odor.
One of the benefits is that regular tongue scraping would also affect your ability to sense different tastes in a good way. Ehen tongue coating is efficiently removed, your tongue gets normally exposed to food you intake; that way, you will be able to enjoy the full flavors of your favorite viands. According to Ayurveda, nutrients from food would be much better absorbed and digested, which leads to overall well-being.
As we’ve mentioned before, morning tongue scraping would prevent you from ingesting all the toxins and bacteria from your body back. While we sleep, our body recovers from toxins it absorbed before and exert them. Those toxins get deposited on pour tongue surface. You surely don’t want to ingest them back, so make tongue scraping a part of your morning routine and always do it before you eat or drink.
Tongue cleaning is also beneficial for dental health. Keeping bacteria and toxic substances away from your mouth, you contribute to cleanliness of your teeth and gums, preventing infections and other problems. Regular tongue scraping, in addition to teeth brushing, could save you a lot of difficulties associated with plaque build-up, tooth decay, gum infections and recessions etc.