Our taste buds serve as a roadmap for our mouth, highlighting the primary taste zones, including sour, sweet, bitter, salty and umami. Taste buds play a vital role in– you guessed it– TASTING! Humans have around 10,000 of them in their mouth and are found inside tiny bumps called papillae, which come in three variations. While these variations can be found across the tongue, those located in the back of your throat are most sensitive to bitter tastes. This evolution of our taste receptors helps us discern whether or not we might have consumed toxins. The second type of papillae can be found at the tip of our tongue and are most sensitive to sweet or salty consumptions. The third type is found on the sides of the tongue and these papillae are most sensitive to sour tasting things.
An important part of caring well for your tastebuds and ensuring a full experience with food and beverages every time is a consistent scrape of our tongues. When we scrape our tongues, we remove dead cells as well as remnants of the day’s food that was caught in between the grooves of our taste buds and in the back of our tongue. This creates an environment for our taste buds to function to their best capacity, therefore creating a more distinguishable encounter with the things we eat.
Tongue scraping is a cleaning method that is often overlooked and forgotten, yet it plays a vital role in the overall health of our mouth. What we eat is very important to our body, but being able to distinguish what we are eating is also important. Taking good care of your tongue helps provide your taste buds with the opportunity to taste well and effectively. Scraping your tongue is one of the most productive ways to clean your pallet and create a clean slate for efficient and sufficient tasting. To clean your tongue thoroughly, stand in front of a mirror and stick out your tongue. Then, place your tongue scraper on the back of your tongue and slowly and gently pull the scraper forward towards the tip of your tongue. If you find that the placement of your tongue scraper is activating your gag reflex, try starting at the middle of your tongue! As you get more and more used to scraping, you can move the scraper further and further back. After each scrape, make sure to wash off your tongue scraper under warm water or wipe off on a towel so you aren’t putting the gunk you just scraped off your tongue back into your mouth (ick!). Repeat this process anywhere from 7 to 14 times, or until you feel your tongue has been thoroughly cleaned. One important sign of a clean tongue is the color! Your tongue should look pink and natural, void of any uncommon colors. Then rinse and clean your scraper completely and do this entire thing again daily!
It seems like a lot of extra (and quite gross) work to do every day. After all, time is precious these days. But this process is so important for the hygienic health of your mouth and improves the overall function of your tastebuds. Your oral health is vital to your bodily health, so it’s worth taking the extra few minutes to clean your tongue and provide the best environment for your taste buds to thrive!