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Cell debris and bacteria collect on the surface of the tongue and can cause bad breath. Ayurveda practitioners have long known the benefits of tongue-scraping, and several tongue scrapers are available on the market. However, it's also quite effective to use your toothbrush to brush your tongue or a length of dental floss to scrape it.

To brush your tongue, simply apply light pressure with a clean toothbrush to the entire surface of the tongue. The stuff you are trying to remove is most concentrated at the back of the tongue, so you may experience a gag reflex at first until you get used to incorporating this practice into your toilette.

To scrape your tongue with dental floss, take a good length of floss (about a foot or so) and wrap each end around your middle fingers. Apply downward pressure with your index fingers, stick out your tongue, and drag the floss from the back of the tongue to the front several times. You might want to keep the water running so that you may rinse off the floss in between scrapings.

Tongue scrapers are available in most drugstores; fancier ones can be ordered online, usually from merchants who specialize in either Ayurvedic goods or oral hygiene products. The idea is similar to scraping with dental floss, but the scrapers are designed to allow for greater mobility in the mouth and allow you to reach further back on the tongue (beware the gag reflex again).

Tongue brushing or scraping can be easily incorporated into your dental hygiene routine and you will reap the benefits (fresher breath, less gunky tongue) very quickly with reqular practice.

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