Saturday, July 26, 2008

The tongue cleaner.

I was born with a pure silver tongue cleaner in my mouth. I could say this with utmost confidence and nary a hint of irony or hype. Yes, the very first tongue cleaner I remember using as a child at 233 Khetwadi Main Road was a baby-sized, horse shoe-shaped implement wrought in pure silver. Its tongue scraping surface was quite blunt. Both the handles had a cute ball-shaped knob. I think it was bought from Mhaskar and Company on Girgaum Road where my mother used to do a lot of shopping for clothes and silverware. The shop is no more like a lot of places from my childhood. A Central Bank of India branch has taken its place. (I have a Savings Bank account there.) Later on, as I grew up, I graduated in my high school days to strips of cheerful colour-spangled flexible plastic sold for 10 or 20 paise each. The wonderful thing about these flimsy little objects was that they had just enough sharpness to leave your tongue feeling properly scraped and clean without hurting it. Also, they broke ever so often so that you could treat yourself to a fresh new one every so often without feeling the pinch. Much later in life came the tongue cleaners made of stainless steel and copper. They seem to do their job okay as far as they go. As a child, I had heard from my mother that it was only hygiene-conscious folks like us who used tongue cleaners daily. If one went by the noisy and gurgling morning ablutions that one sometimes overhears in a public place, I guess they seem to be doing well for themselves without tongue cleaners. It was therefore quite an eye opener for me to read the pack copy of The Pureline Oralcare TONGUE CLEANER. Ujwal got it in a WalMart store in the US. Made from clear greem plastic, it looks like a dimunitive tennis racket with the guts missing. On the front of the pack where the tongue cleaner is embedded under a see-through plastic wrap, I read such wondrous stuff as:

Enjoy Fresh Breath (Thank you, Pureline Oralcare, for not using an exclamation mark. [!])



Promotes Fresh Breath

Improves Your Oral Hygiene

Removes Odor Causing Bacteria

Helps Prevent Periodontal Disease

From the back of the pack came further eye-popping revelations. Such as: "Scientific studies confirm that the primary cause of bad breath is odor-causing bacteria on the tongue. Primarily during sleep, the tongue accumulates this unpleasant plaque film, which is why fresh breath in difficult to maintain even after brushing your teeth. This bacteria can also lead to periodontal disease and other health problems."

The Directions for Use are equally clear and no-nonsense. "After brushing and flossing, rinse The Tongue Cleaner with fresh water. Extend your tongue fully. Place The Tongue Cleaner at the back of your tongue and pull forward while phsing doen GENTLY. Repeat if necessary. When finished, rinse thouroughly with warm water and keep clean for optimum oral hygiene."

If only instructions for software downloads and installation and digital devices were so crystal clear and easy to follow!

P.S.: Nary a mention of halitosis (a Listerine property since 1921), though.