JIVA SODHANA, or Tongue Cleaning
Buy from Health and Yoga The Gheranda Samhita considers tongue cleaning "essential for the preservation of the teeth". The Caraka Samhita says, "The dirt which is collected at the root of the tongue creates obstructions in respiration and produces a foul smell, hence one should scrape the tongue."
A white film on the top of the tongue means there are millions of bacteria living there. The practice of scraping the tongue removes the white colour waste products from the surface of the tongue, and enhances the functioning of taste buds. Not only that, it helps to reduce halitosis, or bad breath and provides a clean environment for good dental hygiene.
A study done by Anne Bosy, co-founder of the Fresh Breath Clinic in Toronto, found that most people with bad breath do not have gum disease. Instead, she found that sulphur-producing bacteria live at the back of the tongue, bedding down under plaque and mucous. These bacteria are a source of halitosis.
Ordinary tooth bushing does not succeed in removing these colonies of bacteria, so many dentists have begun to teach people how to remove these "critters". Some dentists teach patients to brush their tongues with their toothbrushes. A drawback of this is that a moist toothbrush may continue to hold the bacteria. Unless you are willing to throw out your toothbrush on a continuous basis, I don't recommend this practice. Other dentists teach their patients how to use a "tongue scraper".
Yogis have been scraping their tongues clean for hundreds of years. The ancient science of Ayurveda has taught that tongue cleaning activates the salivary glands (which aids in our digestion) and it revitalizes the throat. When people complain of having a frequent sore throat, Ayurvedic doctors advise them to clean their tongues. Sinus infections can also benefit from cleaning the tongue. If your nose is blocked by mucous, preventing the passage of air so you need to breathe out your mouth, the bacteria thrive. By regularly scraping the tongue with a tongue cleaner the excess mucous and any minor infection is removed. (see Neti below, for further assistance with sinus problems).
For some people, no matter how much they brush, floss, eat breath fresheners, or avoid certain foods, bad breath or halitosis persists. But the "discovery" of these bacteria that dwell on the tongue, and the regular use of a tongue cleaner has resulted in many successes. A tongue is clean if it is a rosy-pink colour. Check out your tongue and see how rosy-pink it is!
How to use a Tongue Scraper or Cleaner Tongue scrapers are usually made from gold, silver, copper, tin, brass and stainless steel. Now you can also find them made of plastic. Stick out your tongue. Take the two ends of the tongue scraper in your hand, and reach the arch of it to the back of the tongue. Scrape forward several times, rinsing the white mucous off the scraper between scrapings. Rinse out the mouth once you are done.
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