Tongue Cleaning (and tongues) in History and Culture

William Shakespeare

Perceptive as ever 400 years ago, by recognising that as we age our ability to taste diminishes. As seen in this excerpt from The Seven Ages of Man poem:

Clearly Will had not heard that the simple act of tongue scraping can actually revive flagging taste perception - by rebooting our taste buds.

Also Henry IV part 2 would have turned out a little different with an AMANO at hand;

" And, most dear Actors, eat no onions or garlic. for we are to utter sweet breath ..."

George Washington

George Washington owned a tongue ‘scraper’ which can be seen at Mount Vernon, Virginia.

Needless to say, we are more than happy to supply Heads of State, Prime Ministers and Presidents with a complimentary AMANO Tongue Cleanser.



Napoleon would brush his teeth carefully morning and night and "clean his tongue with a silver scraper" so his biographer maintains - but there are conflicting accounts (see below). Perhaps if his teeth were as bad as General Bunbury claims - he would need a decent tongue scrape to diminish any consequential bad breath!

Wellcome Trust Teeth Exhibition (with permission) 

And this is the sort of ornate oral hygiene set Napoleon would have owned.

(Question: Why are so many Great Military Leaders tongue scraper practitioners? Julius Caesar was reputedly a keen tongue scraper as well).

Wellcome Trust Teeth Exhibition (with permission)

William Osler - 'The Father of Modern Medicine'

Pitt Rivers Museum - Oxford, England

19th and early 20th Century Chinese and Indian Tongue Cleansers (object number 4).

Note also the Frankincense breath freshener (object number 5).