If you take the time to examine your tongue upon waking you will notice a coating that will vary from day to day. You may also notice that the coating is thick one day and thin the next, white one day and brown the other. This is because when we are sleeping our stomach is busy digesting all the food we have eaten during the day and in particular in the evening. As the tongue is an extension of the gut, the bacteria and toxic substances that result from this process can be found on the tongue every morning. Scraping and cleaning the tongue is a very important part of the Ayurvedic daily routine as it cleans the tongue of these toxins or ama, and bacteria so that they do not return to the stomach and re-enter your system.
Cleaning the tongue is a very simple process and should be done first thing in the morning before eating or drinking to remove the coating accumulated during the night. It is also advisable to repeat the process after brushing your teeth at night before going to bed. To scrape the tongue simply place the tongue scraper at the back of the tongue and pull it gently along the tongue. Try to start as far bak as possible and make sure you finish by pulling the scraper off the tip of the tongue to make sure all of the tongue is cleaned. It will usually take a few strokes to cover the whole tongue. You will need to position the scraper in the middle then on the either side to make sure the whole tongue has been cleaned.
A metal tongue scraper like the one in the picture is best. Many toothbrushes now have tongue cleaners but they are not advisable as they do not scrape the toxins/bacteria off the tongue but simply move them around. They are also made of plastic and are not as effective as metal.
Other benefits of cleaning the tongue include, the reduction of bad breath, an increase in the sense of taste, activation of digestion and a decrease in plaque. Once you start cleaning our tongue you will notice how much cleaner and fresher you mouth feels and become a little more aware of how your body is reacting to the life you are living. Enjoy!