Using mouthwash can give a sense of relief that we do not have bad breath but it can wreak havoc on our good mouth bacteria. Did you realize you have a microbiome in your mouth as well as your gut of these beneficial guys in your mouth? We don’t want to cause our first line of defense against food-borne bacteria to be compromised by over killing the balance.
We all know that we should be brushing and flossing 2-3 times a day but have you heard of using a tongue scraper or oil pulling? Let’s break down these two methods in oral detox.
How do I do a tongue scraping?
- Place the scraper at the back of your tongue.
- Gently pull it forward to scrape off the film on the surface, never backward. Be mindful to put enough pressure to remove the film but not so much to hurt or cut into your taste buds.
- Wipe the film off of the scraper with tissue and rinse.
- Rinse your mouth with water and repeat 5 more times.
- It is best to sterilize your scraper with rubbing alcohol each time you do the process.
Why should I do it?
Morning breath is not the best! You may notice a white or yellowish film on your tongue. This is the bacteria that was feeding on the food particles leftover and dead cells. (sorry to gross you out) Scraping eliminates a bulk of the bad breath causing bacteria quickly. In one 2005 study, researchers found that using a tongue scraper twice a day for seven days reduced the overall incidence of Streptococci and Lactobacilli bacteria in the mouth. These are known to cause bad breath and dental decay.
It can heighten your sense of taste by uncluttering or masking the flavors of your food or even drinks that have to penetrate the film layer left in the morning. Think of it as washing a muddy window to see the details of the leaves and branches on the tree outside.
You can create a healthy balance leaning toward the dominance of the good bacteria in your mouth to prevent overgrowth of candida or the bacteria that cause tooth decay much more effectively than using your toothbrush. A 2004 study found that scrapers remove more bacteria than the brushes can including 30% more volatile sulfur compounds. Driving the bacteria up into the brush isn’t good for your gums to receive later either.
Your digestion begins in your mouth with the enzymes that break down your food and saliva that is triggered to begin the process. When 70-80% of your health is in your gut with a load of good bacteria, you can’t forget where it all begins. You will not only improve your sense of taste and smell but increase your digestive breakdown. Dry mouth makes this difficult to achieve so try tongue brushing to stimulate and give your taste buds a fighting chance.
Getting a copper scraper can be advised since copper is anti-microbial and helps regulate fungi. If you want to use a plastic or steel one to avoid any exposure to copper (if you have copper toxicity on your Hair Analysis) there are many good ones online. After using your scraper you can clean it with rubbing alcohol or a good shot of peroxide to air dry.
Believe it or not, there is a dental issue called “hairy tongue” that needs to be addressed with your dentist. It’s gross to google but not surprisingly super rare. If you see white patches they are usually caused by oral thrush or leukoplakia and can be treated with your dentist’s supervision. They can also pick up on many health conditions before they become an issue so make sure to get professional teeth cleaning biannually.
Tongue scraping should only take 1-2 minutes at most but can boost your confidence, oral health, gut health, and immune system. Don’t forget to teach the kids at an early age so it is a habit for life as well.
Have you heard of oil pulling?
It is an ancient Ayurvedic medicinal practice dating over 3,000 years ago so it is not a new wave health practice. It is a practice of swishing small amounts of oil in your mouth to eliminate the bad bacteria.
What kind of oils can be used?
You can use non-GMO sesame or sunflower oil but the most common is cold-pressed, organic coconut oil as half of its fat is made of lauric acid which has strong antimicrobials, antibacterial properties, and can inhibit the bacteria that causes decay.
How is it done?
You simply place a teaspoon to a tablespoon of the oil in your mouth and push, pull, and suck it through your teeth to get in between where bacteria like to hide. The fatty molecules attract and bond with the fatty membranes of microorganisms, in theory, to be spit into the garbage after 20 minutes then thoroughly rinsing your mouth. The oil will appear cloudy and thinner when mixed with your saliva. You can use your tongue scraper, do oil pulling then brush and floss while you begin your morning routine.
What is said to be the benefits of oil pulling?
- Increase in energy by reducing bad bacteria assaulting the immune system
- Whitens teeth naturally
- Reduces inflammation systemically decreasing the risk of disease
- Encourages better oral hygiene
It is said to help conditions such as rashes, eczema, psoriasis, acne, and other skin conditions. (I believe because the fats also remove heavy metals in the mouth including copper and mercury.)
I do caution clients to only do it once or twice a week as it can also eliminate some of your good oral microbiome or good bacteria as well as dry out your mouth from the deep cleaning. Always spit it into the garbage so it will not clog your drain over time and never swallow the toxic mixture.
Are you going to add scraping to your brushing and flossing? Willing to try oil pulling?
Let me know if you have any questions!
Copyright Scientific Nutrition, LLC 2020