Tongue scraping can boost the ability of the good bacteria in our mouth to take advantage of the nitrates in greens to improve our cardiovascular health.

There was so much juicy stuff packed into a single video! Let me emphasize some of the key points. I have tons of videos about our microbiome, but, normally, I’m mostly only talking about the gut microbiome. We have a skin microbiome, good and bad bugs that live on our skin and affect conditions like acne and eczema, for instance. We have a microbiome in our ear canals, living in our ear wax. And, yes, we have an oral microbiome that doesn’t just determine the health of our gums and teeth, but it also has systemic consequences, converting the nitrates in beets and green leafy vegetables into the “open sesame” nitric oxide molecule that allows our arteries to relax and dilate open.

It’s a team effort. When you hear Dr. Esselstyn talk about the miracle of nitric oxide for your heart and how heart patients should eat greens six times a day, yes, yes, yes! But, you can’t take full advantage of all of those greens without these good bacteria on your tongue. That’s why antibacterial mouthwash is such a bad idea and why antibacterial mouthwash is not the way to deal with bad breath, because, when you use it, you’re killing your nitric oxide-producing bugs, too. If you never eat vegetables, it doesn’t matter much either way, but if you want to keep the good bugs happy, follow these three tips:

1. Don’t use antibacterial mouthwash.
2. Eat a plant-based diet because vegans have more of the good bugs.
3. Tongue scrape every day, as regular tongue cleaning boosts the good bacteria, too.

Let’s get to the nitty gritty. What is the best way to clean your tongue? That’s the topic of the last video in this series: How to Clean Your Tongue (

If you missed any of the first three videos, see:
• Effects of Tongue Scraping on Plaque, Gingivitis, and Cavities (
• Tongue Scraping vs. Tongue Brushing for Treating Halitosis (Bad Breath) (
• Does Tongue Scraping Cause Cancer? (

What else are nitrates good for? Check out Best Brain Foods: Greens and Beets Put to the Test (

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Thanks for watching. I hope you’ll join in the evidence-based nutrition revolution!
-Michael Greger, MD FACLM

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