George Washington and the art of tongue cleansing

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Posted on: 26 June 2014 by Mano Manoharan

We all know that America’s 1st President, George Washington, created a lasting political legacy for the USA and indeed the world. It would be slightly ironic therefore if his personal grooming preferences became the inspiration for a revolution, in the way we look afresh, at an oral hygiene routine that has been largely forgotten - in the western world.

This may come as a shock to you but Founding Father George Washington was a practitioner in the rich and noble art of tongue cleansing.

Indeed his elegant toilet set can still be viewed at Mount Vernon, Virginia, USA. Or on this website, in the ‘History of Tongue Cleansing’ section: www.amanotonguecleanser.com

You’ll see America’s President owned both a toothbrush and a tongue scraper (here at AMANO we prefer to to say ‘tongue cleanser’).

George Washington's toilet set

The medical reasons for tongue cleansing, particularly for those of us over 50, are now pretty compelling.

The tongue is one third of our mouths surface area and it is an excellent trap for food and bacterial debris – that has been shown to cause bad breath and dental decay.

As we age however our saliva count drops – thus increasing these oral care issues. Plus poor oral care has been linked to increased risk of heart disease.

Additionally our taste buds decline in sensitivity making food appear dull. Tongue cleaning can reverse this process and enable the subtle flavours in food and wine to be enhanced.

When I first saw the image of Washington’s toilet set I wanted to know just why did he choose to use a scraper on his tongue rather than just a brush (as some might suggest).

The answer could be relevant for todays oral care conscious consumer faced with a similar conundrum.

I think we all instinctively consider any NEW healthcare activity or routine in the following way.

For it to be adopted as part of a regular routine, it needs to qualify as; ‘A REWARDING EXPERIENCE’.

And for this to happen it needs to satisfy a delicate equation featuring these 4 components;

TIME TO COMPLETE:

LEVEL OF PLEASANTNESS: (or lack of unpleasantness)

PERCEIVED EFFECTIVENESS:

COST:

On this basis tongue cleansing using a traditional ‘scraper’ implement, such as the AMANO Tongue Cleanser, wins hands down – over a toothbrush, or indeed a stylized tongue ‘brush’.

Savile Row design

WHY?

Well it takes less than 5 seconds to do:

You will not experience a gag effect: (because the weight and 2-handle design is able to resist the tongues ‘reflex’ action)

You will see the visible results

And it’s a one off ‘investment’ that will last for years

Since George spent much of his life ‘in the field’, constantly on the move (from us Brits) this equation worked well for him it seems.

So, if you are able to deal with seeing the food, drink and bacterial debris being swiftly and elegantly removed by the AMANO – this is a routine that can become part of your daily oral care regime.

Contrast this with tongue brushes – they do seem to take an awfully long time. Chances are you will gag, particularly when you try and reach the back of the tongue. Plus you certainly don’t get the same sense of ‘achievement’ from seeing the gunge come off your tongue. And then you also have the cost of replacing these plastic consumer items every 3 months or so…

We have AMANOs ‘in the field’ for 20 years and more. That makes it a great and long lasting ‘investment’. We are really hoping George’s shining example will motivate others to follow him and adopt the practice of tongue cleansing…

As we all recall, George Washington believed in; “Life Liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.

Given his tongue cleansing penchant, this line could have just as well been written; ““Life Liberty and the pursuit of a clean tongue”.

Now that would have been a truly memorable epitaph.

The AMANO Tongue Cleanser was featured in this months British Dental Journal.

 

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