Mouth health affects whole body health and poor general health is reflected in the mouth. For centuries, many cultures have assessed health by the condition of a patient’s tongue. People with healthy mouths and healthy digestive health have tongues with no coating and which are a pink color – even first thing in the morning! An unhealthy tongue's condition might show up as pale, white, thick, scalloped, or with thick coatings (see Dr. Anthony's article link below for more information). At a microscopic level the surface of our tongue is home to important healthy oral bacteria responsible for producing nitric oxide, a compound that supports cardiovascular health and breathing.
The strategies I teach have allowed thousands of people to rapidly improve their overall oral health. One of the first changes people notice is how clean their tongue and mouth feel in the morning, as they wake from sleeping. This is a testimony to the improvements in their mouth’s ecology, and it is why I have never needed to recommend flossing or the mechanical mouth-cleaning method known as tongue scraping.
Dangers of Tongue Scraping
Recently there have been reports about carcinogenic plastics and other materials found in floss and equipment like plastic tongue scrapers. Anyone with an infected mouth should, in my opinion, avoid any mechanical cleaning, especially in areas that could bleed – at least until their mouth’s bacteria are balanced by the strategies I recommend. Flossing and scraping can potentially push harmful bacteria into the blood– a problem called a bacteremia. An event of this kind occurred after tongue scraping, and was recorded in this article.
There are no conclusive studies to show flossing or tongue scraping are superior to good tooth brushing. The goal for sustainable oral health cannot be achieved by mechanical cleaning and scraping – but instead by the support of our mouth’s healthy bacteria and the development of a protective oral microbiome, everywhere in the mouth. In fact, if you have a coating on your tongue that you feel needs to be removed, this should be a red-flag to motivate you to improve the balance of your mouth and digestive health. Simply scraping it off your tongue will not solve the underlying problem.
How To Improve Tongue Health
My advice for anyone with a coating on their tongue (or in their mouth) would be to use my Complete Mouth Care System strategies in conjunction with a probiotic diet and supplements to help improve digestive health. (Garden of Life Colon Health Probiotic is a probiotic I recommend for 2-3 months during oral health changes). Constipation and poor digestion are often associated with a coating on the tongue, and a coated tongue is linked with worsening gum health, periodontal pocketing, and gum disease. Harmful mouth bacteria cause cavities and dental destruction and people with multiple cavities, diseased teeth, and gum disease often find they have raised Inflammatory markers in their blood. These markers are an indication of an increased risk for a cardiovascular event, stroke, arthritis, dementia, or Alzheimer’s.
My strategies progressively improve oral health over a period of about 6 months. Enjoy Zellie’s xylitol mints or gum at the end of every meal, snack and drink. Xylitol is a prebiotic that nurtures healthy mouth bacteria, and in synergy with my Complete Mouth Care System, helps control damaging plaque and plaque accumulations, everywhere in the mouth – including your tongue!
Other Interesting Links On Tongue Scraping:
Dr. Anthony: What Your Tongue Says About Your Health
Cleveland Clinic: What Your Tongue Can Tell You About Your Health