Ayurveda, the practice of traditional Indian medicine, recommends tongue cleaning as part of one's daily hygiene regimen, to remove the toxic debris, known as Ama. Tongue cleaning has existed in Ayurvedic practice since ancient times, using tongue scrapers made from copper, silver, gold, tin or brass. In modern time, plastic scrapers are used in India and the Far East.
Tongue hygiene has been practiced for centuries in Africa, Arabia, Europe, South America and many eastern and oriental cultures. The various materials used for tongue cleaners include thin flexible wood sections, metals, ivory, mother-of-pearl, whalebone, celluloid, tortoiseshell, and plastic.
Western civilizations placed less emphasis on tongue cleaning. Between the 15th and 19th century, tongue cleaning was primarily practiced by those who were affluent. It was recorded in Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries that Romans also performed tongue cleaning. In the 20th century, a wide variety of tongue cleaning devices came on the commercial market.