Mondhygiëne: tanden poetsen, flossen en tandenstokers gebruiken we om onze tanden en tandvlees schoon, hygiënisch en gezond te houden. Maar we vergeten meestal de hygiëne van de tong. Onze tong kunnen we schoonmaken met een tongschraper. Je neemt de uiteinden in je twee handen en buigt de tongschraper zo sterk dat hij in je mond past. Je legt hem op het achterste van je tong en trekt hem over je tong heen naar voren. Alle aanslag van je tong blijft op de schraper achter en die spoel je er af. Dit kun je enkele keren herhalen, totdat er niets meer aan de tongschraper zit.
Eveneens de oplossing voor slechte adem
De tongschraper is ook het eerste hulpmiddel bij ‘slechte adem’. Als tanden stoken en flossen geen oplossing biedt is tongschrapen in 80% van de gevallen de oplossing voor slechte adem, heeft onderzoek van de Universiteit van Groningen aangetoond.
De tongschraper kan, omdat hij van roestvrij staal gemaakt is, bij juist gebruik een levenlang mee gaan. De tongschraper hoort thuis in elke badkamer, in elke toilettas en in elke mond.
What you need to know about tongue scraping
It’s been hammered into our heads to brush twice a day, floss once (though that’s up for debate) and maybe rinse with a fluoride mouthwash. But recently, another chore has been suggested as an addition to our dental routine: tongue scraping. But is this ayurvedic practice that dates back to ancient India really worth your while?
We went to two experts to find out if you should start your day scraping your tongue.
Dental hygienist Sam Williamson, owner of Teeth Whitening Belfast in Ireland, recommends the practice to all of his patients.
“Most of my clients don’t realize the effectiveness of tongue scraping until they actually do it and see all the gunk that comes off their tongue,” he says. “The tongue is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, but although we take care of our teeth and our gums regularly, we don’t pay nearly as much attention to our tongue.”
The bacteria on your tongue is one of the main causes of bad breath, so scraping it regularly can significantly improve your breath over time. In fact, a recent study showed about 85 percent of all bad breath cases begin in the mouth and half are caused by bacteria residue on the tongue. Brushing your tongue is “the best way to ensure that your breath stays fresh throughout the day,” Williamson says.
Kimberly Harms, DDS, a dentist in Farmington, Minnesota, and a spokesperson for the American Dental Association, says “your taste buds in the back are made for bacteria to hide.” And when your mouth has a lot of bacteria in it, you can taste it. “That sour taste is often due to bacteria,” she says.
If you often suffer from dry mouth, this quick health routine can help that, too. “If you’re not producing enough saliva when you chew, you my have digestive issues,” Williamson says. “Scraping can help.”
How to do it
“A scraper is an efficient way to remove all that’s coating your tongue,” Harms says. Here are four things to keep in mind as you scrape:
1. Buy a dedicated tongue scraper (they cost as little as $6) that comes in plastic or metal and is usually shaped like the letter U.
2. Always be gentle — scraping your tongue should never hurt.
3. Scrape only five to 10 times, Harms suggests.
4. Don’t go too deep. “Since we have a gag reflex, be sure not to put the scraper too far back in your mouth,” she adds.
“It’s a wonderful thing,” Harms says. “We don’t like to praise things without research but tongue scraping makes sense. If you’re successful at brushing twice a day and flossing daily, great. Do that first. Consider tongue scraping a great adjunct to good oral hygiene.”
THE CAUSE OF BAD BREATH & HOW TO EFFECTIVELY CLEAN YOUR MOUTH
Here is yet another daily practice to add into your oral health regime. Fortunately for you, this one is not only simple and fast, taking only a few seconds out of your day, but it offers benefits that can be seen right away. I am referring to the Ayurvedic practice of tongue scraping, which involves — you guessed it — scraping your tongue.
Scraping your tongue may sound uncomfortable or even painful, but I assure you, once you try it and see all of the gunk that comes off of your tongue (painlessly), you will immediately choose to add this practice to your morning routine. I’d never heard of it until about a month ago when a friend mentioned it to me while I was on vacation. I ordered a scraper online as soon as I got home and have been using it religiously ever since.
Registered dental hygienist Kim Shamoun says: “I can’t live without tongue scraping. Without a doubt, it should be a part of our daily oral hygiene regimen. I stress to my patients, friends, family and strangers alike how important it really is. A tongue scraper is the one thing I would want with me on a deserted island… forget the lipstick!”
The Benefits of Tongue Scraping
1. Combats Bad Breath and Halitosis
In fact, tongue scraping is the single most beneficial defence against halitosis. Regardless of whether your breath is regularly stinky, I’d be willing to bet that you still wake up with morning breath. How nice would it be to roll over and give your significant other, or pet, a big smooch without them gagging and pushing you away? (Okay, maybe it’s not that bad, but it’s still an unfortunate morning reality!)
2. Enhances Taste Receptors
When your tongue is coated with gunk, that gunk is preventing your taste buds from recognizing all of the amazing flavours your food has to offer. Experience your food as if it were for the first time again with the simple practice of tongue scraping!
3. Improves Digestion
We’ve all heard how digestion begins in your mouth, and how important it is to chew your food, but your saliva is just as important here, and the more saliva you produce, the easier the digestive process will be. Tongue scraping will cause you to salivate more because you will be able to taste your food more.
4. Protects From Plaque Buildup
You might be surprised to learn that plaque exists on the tongue as well on your teeth — this is called soft plaque. The more plaque you have on your tongue, the more plaque will develop on your teeth.
5. Improves Overall Oral Hygiene
Having a clean tongue and overall good oral hygiene can help protect against other diseases as well. Oral health is very important for overall health, and poor oral hygiene is linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and infertility.
I Know What You’re Thinking…
You’re probably thinking, I already scrape my tongue, every time I brush my teeth, with my toothbrush! Well, you definitely have the right idea, but unfortunately you are using the wrong tool for the job. A toothbrush just does not provide the same scraping benefit as a tongue scraper. Toothbrush —for brushing teeth. Tongue scraper — for scraping the tongue. See what I did there? You will need a hard, flat surface for optimal scraping.
How to Scrape Your Tongue
First you want to pick your scraper. Personally, I have been unable to find them in stores, so I went online and ordered one from Amazon. They range from $7-$15, and come in either stainless steel or copper. Copper is likely the best metal to be used for tongue scraping because, as with our gut, the mouth harbours both good and bad bacteria, and copper is toxic to the bad while also providing important enzymes necessary for the healthy microbes in the mouth to survive.
In either case, I recommend getting one with handles for better grip in case the gunk slides onto the handles.
One you’ve brought your scraper home, follow these steps:
1. In the morning, right after you wake up and before drinking any water, get up and scrape your tongue. This will reduce the accumulation of toxins in your digestive tract from your tongue. You don’t want to press too hard, but press hard enough so you can see what looks like mucus sliding off your tongue. Rinse the scraper after each scrape and then repeat the process about 5-7 times, starting at the back of your tongue.
2. Follow with flossing, then brushing
3. Finish with a large glass of water.
You can also use your scraper in the same order during your evening brushing routine. Your mouth will start to feel much fresher and cleaner right away, and you’ll wonder how you ever went to so long without scraping your tongue before.