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Ayurveda for Kids: Is your child scraping her tongue every morning?

We’ve posted articles about tongue scraping in the past, and you may have thought it sounded like a good idea. It is! Hopefully you scrape your tongue each morning to remove toxins from your digestion tract, freshen your breath, improve digestion, restore proper taste, and keep digestive organs healthy (link to previous article below). But how about your kids? Do they scrape their tongues each day also? If not, it’s never too soon to start!
 
For younger children, check their tongues often, and have them scrape it daily. Teach them how to check their own tongue so that it becomes a lifelong habit! Show your children how you scrape your own tongue, and perhaps make it something you do together. The majority of childhood diseases are caused by digestive issues. By noticing and evaluating warning signs, preventative techniques can be applied. So begin with taking a look at your child’s tongue. A normal tongue is pinkish with either no coating or a very slight white coating. Its texture is soft and fairly uniform. 
 
You may notice a heavy coating on the tongue and strong breath. This can indicate a build up of ama in the body, which is the residue of improperly digested food. It can also indicate a cold in the making. A dry or cracked tongue is an indication of dehydration, dryness of the mucous membranes, and constipation.  A tongue that is bright red, particularly along the edges, indicates the presence of too much heat or acidity in the digestive system. The mucous membranes are likely to be inflamed and irritated, and the stools are probably loose. A tongue that is bright red all over indicates even deeper overheated conditions and perhaps a more serious condition. If you see scallops along the edge, your child may not be absorbing their food well and there may be food particles in their stool as well. Make sure they chew their food slowly and thoroughly! 
 
Tongue scraping is an important part of one’s daily routine. The tongue is a major vehicle for detoxification of the digestive system. When toxins start building up in the digestive system, the body uses the tongue as a means of removing them (resulting in a coated tongue). By cleaning or scraping the tongue, you can remove these toxins. In addition, tongue scraping prevents toxins from sitting in the mouth all day, breeding bacteria.
 
To scrape the tongue, purchase a simple tongue scraper, usually made of stainless steel, although sometimes they are made of plastic or copper. Place the rounded part of the tongue scraper back in the mouth as far as is comfortable (without gagging), and apply a firm but gentle pressure, moving the scraper from the back towards the front of the tongue. Repeat several times. When through, wash the tongue scraper and keep it with your child’s toothbrush. Teach them the importance of this daily routine, to help lay the groundwork for a healthy life!
 
By Marisa Laursen, C.A.S., P.K.S., A.Y.T., Faculty at the California College of Ayurveda