There is apparently a great deal to be said in favour of scraping your tongue clean on a daily basis. Ancient Ayurvedic texts detail the many benefits for your physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing, doctors practising traditional Chinese medicine routinely check the state of your tongue as a guideline to your general health, and even the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology recommends daily scraping for oral hygiene.
You only need to see the furry coating on your tongue after a few unwise meals out, and consider how much fresher your mouth (and breath) is after you have brushed only your teeth in the morning, to think about giving this a try.
If you do have a furry tongue, it is probably a build-up of keratin, which under normal circumstances is removed naturally as you eat fresh, unprocessed food. Keratin which is left behind, usually because you are eating richer, softer foods than nature intended, is an ideal environment in which bacteria can grow. That not only makes your breath smell, it means every subsequent meal carries unwanted bacteria down into your gut.
Sweeter breath and better digestion aside, cleaning your tongue uncovers clogged taste buds, which means you can appreciate your food more and (maybe…) eat less of it as a result. At the very least, you should find you no longer need to add quite so much salt or sugar to your meal.
I found this tongue scraper in a Japanese pharmacy and thought I might give it a try. It has soft rubber ridges to scrape the worst bits away before a double line of bristles cleans up what has been left behind. The trick seems to be not to scrape too hard, and to work up gradually to scraping the very back of your tongue because otherwise it is really easy to make yourself gag.
Puzzling out the Japanese instructions was a bit difficult, but it seems you should scrape from back to front between 7 – 14 times, once or twice a day, and rinse the scraper as often as you feel it needs as you are doing this. I certainly felt my mouth was a lot fresher after using this, although I can’t say I have noticed myself eating less! It seems like a great thing to add to my daily routine, however, so I shall be keeping up with it.