Tuesday, April 09, 2002

Brush Your Tongue!

...or, "All truth is God's truth."

Years ago, my dentist told me to brush my tongue for the best overall mouth hygiene. I tried this for a while, but using a regular toothbrush wasn't really that easy or effective. Later, I heard recommendations about tongue scrapers, and how scraping your tongue (preferrably with a copper scraper) was a central practice of Ayurveda, an Indian system of "medicine" purported to help balance your "inner energies."

Now, any medical approach that finds many of its reference pages also linking to information about astrology and UFO sightings is more than a little suspect in my mind. But dentists mention tongue-scraping too, so it was worth a try. I got a scraper, and found it unpleasant to use. I persisted, though not faithfully. Finally, though, much later, in a Rite-Aid aisle, I found what was to become my own tongue-cleaning equivalent of Buddha's middle path (I apologize for the Buddhist reference after discussion of a practice closer to Hinduism, but I don't know any fitting Hindu references off the top of my head).

I had found the "Dr. Weider Original Tung Brush." This brush, with a toothbrush-like shape, but has shorter bristles for true papillae-cleaning bliss. By the way, it's a different Weider, not Joe Weider of Muscle and Fitness fame. This brush allows much easier cleaning than with a scraper, preventing the particulary unpleasant scraper-induced gag reflex due to its slender construction.

It took about two weeks to feel the full effects of a clean tongue, but now my evening and morning mouth-care ritual is not complete without a tongue cleaning. Perhaps brushing your tongue is an unpleasant image to consider, but the effects (cleaner mouth feel, better breath, possibly-placebo-effect-induced feeling of better ability to fight off infection) are certainly worth it.

So, I don't think that my Vatta and Pitta energies have been balanced by my cleaner tongue. But neither do I think that cosmic forces become more focused in my home as I get (gradually) closer to the uncluttered Feng Shui ideal. It would be more accurate to say that I consider the vast majority of Ayurvedic practice to be pure bunk, just like the architectural-acupuncture basis for Feng Shui. But clean tongues and uncluttered homes have practical benefits, available without any philosophy attached.


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