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August 2, 2012

Blast from the past: BehindTheMedspeak: Bad Breath and Tongue Cleansing


This post originally appeared over six years ago (June 10, 2006, to be precise — no Jonah Lehrer self-plagiarism here. But I digress.).

The information contained within was valid in 2006 and it still holds.

Not one word has been omitted.


BehindTheMedspeak: Bad Breath and Tongue Cleansing

There are seemingly infinitely many devices, techniques and substances purported to clean your tongue and eliminate or at least mitigate bad breath.

The fact there are so many means none of them are much good.

Just as good money drives out bad, one good medical solution eliminates all the other pretenders and wanna-be's.

Consider for a moment the hundreds of remedies for hiccups — none of which work with the same certainty removing an inflamed appendix will cure appendicitis.

But I digress.

The source of bad breath is indeed — in most cases — the tongue.

There's little doubt of that.

The problem is that the area from which the foul smells emanate is at the very base of the tongue, where thick mucus accumulates to harbor odor-causing bacteria.

You can't get at that area because approaching it with a foreign body like a scraper or cleaning tool triggers your gag reflex, if you're healthy.

It's a protective mechanism from deep time to prevent your inhaling or aspirating something potentially dangerous or harmful.

The tongue scrapers sold as panaceas will definitely clean the visible area of your tongue, but that's not where the problem is.

Sure, your tongue will look all nice and pink afterward but it's purely cosmetic.

Not that cosmetic improvement is to be scoffed at.

For the purpose of such superficial tongue lifts I recommend the SuperSmile flexible plastic tongue scraper (above and below).


It's fairly cheap ($13.75 for six) , effective, and easy and comfortable to use.

Each lasts about three months.

You don't want to commit to six?

I understand that: You can get one for $3.25.


Note that you're supposed to employ it prior to brushing your teeth rather than after: I've been using this device for many years but the wrong way — after brushing — until I carefully read the instructions on the package insert last night, to wit: "Use twice daily before brushing teeth."


But that's just the opening act — because you can get at the unreachable area at your tongue's base and clean it up.

And you don't have to spend a zillion dollars to do so.

The active ingredient in every single bad breath treatment program is hydrogen peroxide.


Simple, cheap, 3% hydrogen peroxide, in the brown plastic bottle that's available at grocery stores, drug stores, 7-Eleven, everywhere, for $2 or so for a 16 oz. brown plastic bottle.

Buy some next time you're at the store, then follow these steps:

1) In the morning, before you brush your teeth, take a swig of the hydrogen peroxide — but don't swallow it.*

2) Tip your head back with your mouth open so that the stuff pools at the base of your tongue.

3) Do this in a quiet place — if you listen carefully, you'll hear faint fizzing from inside your mouth that sounds like soda (I pretend those are the cries of dying bacteria).

4) Keep your head back like that for 15 seconds or so, then spit the stuff out.

Within two weeks your breath will be fresher — or I will refund (cheerfully, as always) every penny you paid for your bottle of hydrogen peroxide.

And you can take that to the bank.

*Don't worry if you swallow it — it's not toxic and won't make you sick.

I'm not saying you should drink the whole bottle, mind you.

August 2, 2012 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Inflatable Laptop Stand


That's different.

Screen Shot 2012-08-01 at 4.48.59 PM

£14.99 (Laptop included. Mac or PC?).

August 2, 2012 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Andrew Harper's Paris Hideaway Report App


Wrote Elaine Glusac in the July 14, 2012 New York Times Travel section, "Subscribers have to pay at least $195 a year to get Andrew Harper's Hideaway Report, a monthly newsletter that reviews luxury hotels and resorts. Now the famously discerning Mr. Harper is giving away some of his tips, in a new iPad app."


And: "Andrew Harper's Paris covers restaurants, shops and attractions as well as hotels. Eschewing the model of most guidebooks, which survey the travel landscape more comprehensively, the app is, according to a welcome letter, "a selective and personal guide" to the city."


More: "Among 14 highlighted hotels are some of the city's most exclusive, including the Hôtel de Crillon and the Four Seasons Hotel George V. Dining choices are broader, ranging from cafes to haute cuisine. A location finder indicates how far users are from each entry, and tips — like visiting the second level of the Eiffel Tower to beat the crowds — are blended with his personal preferences for things like favorite artworks at the Louvre."


Go ahead, take a trip from the comfort of your favorite chair — I won't tell.


For now at least, the app is free, the way we like it.

Fair warning.

August 2, 2012 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Radioactive Materials Pop-Up Laundry Hamper

Screen Shot 2012-08-01 at 4.10.42 PM

21.75" high x 17.25" inches wide.


August 2, 2012 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

"My first video" — Sebastian Martorana

From the artist's website: "As a way to promote [the new show] '40 Under 40,' the Renwick Gallery asked each of the participating artists to create a one-minute video about their work and how they felt about being included in the upcoming show. Since I am a sculptor and not a filmmaker, I had the opportunity to work with someone who is, Tobin Herringshaw. Through his vision and willingness to film over three and a half hours of continuous carving, we were able to give a sense of the actual process behind some of my pieces. It only took speeding me up over 10,000 times."

August 2, 2012 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

QR Code Luggage Tag


Half the price of last week's iteration of web-enabled luggage ID.


Much better color scheme, too.

I might just try one on some local journeys to see how it works in practice.

From the website:


The ID Luggage Tag uses cloud-based QR code technology to make an interactive lost & found for the digital age. 

The 100% recycled aluminum luggage tag carries up-to-the-minute contact information on your luggage. 

Your personal ID code allows you to update hotel, airport, rental car, and any other pertinent information for every single trip you take. 

Should your luggage ever be misplaced, a simple scan of the easily identified QR code will provide essential basic information to do-gooders trying to return it to you.

Here's how it works:

1. Purchase the RuMeID Luggage Tag

2. Register your unique QR code/web ID code on RuMeID.com

3. When registering, choose to enter as much or as little information as you'd like, such as name, cell number, where you're staying on your trip, etc.

4. Should your luggage be misplaced or lost, anyone who finds it can simply scan the code with a smartphone and contact you, or arrange to have it sent to the address you've listed.

5. The information held on RuMeID is safe, secure, and can only to be accessed by approved parties.


$14.95 (luggage not included).

[via IB]

August 2, 2012 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

This EKOCYCLE commercial blew me away last night

I happened on it halfway through early in the Olympics broadcast and said "Wha?"

The YouTube caption: "All good things must end, but an end can be a new start. That's why will.i.am and Coca-Cola teamed up to form EKOCYCLE™. EKOCYCLE™ things are made, in part, from other things. Things that don't have to end. Things that begin again. Join the cycle at http://www.EKOCYCLE.com

Music: will.i.am — This Is Love (http://smarturl.it/ThisIsLoveiTunes).

August 2, 2012 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Unicorn Pencil Sharpener — "Turns a white horse into a #2 unicorn"


That's different.

"Collect and empty the magical shavings."

Plastic unicorn is 2 inches high.

$6.98 ("Silver pencil with eraser included").

[via Craziest Gadgets and Brett Kling]

August 2, 2012 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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