“Hold on what do you want me to do…. scrape my tongue?” I guarantee you, do it for one week and you will never quit. It is like brushing your teeth. Once you start, your mouth just doesn’t feel clean without doing it.
Tongue scraping, or Jihwa Prakshalana, is said to remove ama, which is digestive impurities (the result of incomplete or inefficient digestion). It is important to remove ama as it is toxic and if it isn’t removed, it will be reabsorbed by the body.
Here’s How to Scrape Your Tongue:
- While there are professional tongue scrapers out there, I prefer the front of a large flat spoon. I’m not sure if the spoon I use is silver but if you are using a spoon, Ayurvedic practitioners recommend a silver spoon (Silver is known for its antibacterial properties.)
- Relax your tongue so that the scraper contacts maximum surface area, and place the scraper as far back on your tongue as comfortable. Gently yet firmly, scrape the entire surface from back to front.
- Rinse the scraper well with hot water after each use.
- Repeat this process 3-5 times, until your tongue looks clean, and pinkish or red in colour.
This practice has been an aspect of Dinacharya for thousands of years, and involves swishing oil, such as coconut, sunflower or sesame, around your gums and teeth for 2-20 minutes each day, typically in the morning. Oil pulling is effective in removing toxins and parasites, which reside in between your teeth, around the tongue, and on the gums. This simple routine involves swishing (not gargling) one tablespoon of oil in your mouth for as long as it feels comfortable.
While I find any longer than 5-6 minutes excruciating, I continue to do this practice for as long as I can because I know that it draws out bacteria and has been shown to promote healthy gums and teeth and reduce tartar build-up.
Embrace oil pulling as part of your daily teeth-cleaning routine, and remember these few things:
- Swish the oil gently. If your jaw or mouth starts aching, slow down.
- Avoid swallowing the oil throughout the process.
- Once you are done pulling, spit the oil in the garden or into the bin. Do not spit it in the sink as over time the oil may clog pipes.
- After spitting, rinse your mouth with warm water before consuming any beverages.
P.S. This post is part of a sequence of posts that starts with Being healthy in Ayurveda, if you are interested in learning more about Ayurveda or ways in which it promotes good health and general wellbeing, please click on the links provided: Shirodhara, Abhyanga & Skin Brushing, and Pinda Sweda. Enjoy!