You’re missing one vital step in your routine

By now, you probably have your morning routine down pat. It probably looks something like this: wake up, take a shower, brush your teeth, moisturize, put on clothes… but a crucial step is missing, and it only takes 30 seconds. That step is tongue scraping.

If you haven’t heard of it, the activity is exactly what it sounds like: scraping your tongue. For what purpose? Tongue scraping is said to help with halitosis, in particular. And no one wants bad breath, right?

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Researchers from the United States National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health compared overall oral health, as well as halitosis symptoms in tooth brushing with a soft bristle brush versus tongue scraping. They split a group of healthy participants between the ages of 20 and 50 into two separate groups for a two-week period. One group spent the first week only tongue scraping and the second week only brushing teeth. The second group did the reverse retouine.

The result? Both methods reduced the percentage of volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs), which are the cause of halitosis and the build-up of plaque on the tongue. But tongue scraping performed better by reducing VSCs by 75 percent versus a 45 percent reduction by tooth brushing.

Effective removal of VSCs is integral to oral health and even overall health. Having too much plaque on your tongue can also result in poor digestion and even cardiovascular diseaseYikes.

Do what you have to do to keep your breath fresh and your body healthy. If that means spending an extra 30 seconds a day scraping your tongue, we’d say it’s worth it.

This article originally appeared on Swirled.

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