I can’t say that I’ve done a ton of shows but I have enough under my belt at this point to have made some observations. The most recent has been that people stink. Literally. I’m shocked at how many grown adults smell. It’s unacceptable.
If I was a director of a show I would begin the first day of rehearsal by passing out travel size deodorants to every cast member. Or maybe I would just not let them in the door until they have had their pits doused with an aerosol deodorant.
I would then have a speech on personal hygiene including DENTAL hygiene.
Prior to being a stay-at-home-mom I was a dental assistant. I was a general chair-side assistant for 5 years and a surgical assistant for Periodontists for 4. Periodontists specialize in periodontal disease or what you may know as gingivitis.
Periodontal disease has a very distinct….odor. Something akin to stale caca. Do to my former career, I have an acute sensitivity to this smell. Many of my cast mates have this disease. You know what’s amazing about it? It’s 100% reversible! Here’s what you need to do:
Brush your teeth twice a day for 2 minutes each time. Brush all sides of the teeth. Brush the parts we see when you smile (facial), brush the side near the tongue (lingual), and brush the chewing surface. Do not stick your brush in your mouth and wipe it back and forth a couple of times. Start in the back and concentrate on brushing each tooth with small circular motions. To help the rotting gum tissue that is making the stale caca smell, angle your brush at 45 degrees toward the gum-line. If you’re brushing your upper teeth, angle up. The lowers, angle down. Finish by gently massaging your gums with your soft bristle toothbrush.
If you did that and your gums are bleeding….yeah…you have gum disease. You are the stinky person.
Next, floss. When you floss, curve the thread around your tooth and slide it up and down along the sides. If you just pop the floss inbetween each tooth: congratulations, you’ve just cleaned the tiny spot where the teeth make contact. The goal is to clean below the gumline. So curve the floss and slide it down along the tooth and under the gumline. Your teeth may be crowded and have tight contacts. You can start with a sawing motion to get past the tight spots but then go up and down. If you’ve never done this before, smell your floss after using it. Gross. It’s you. You’re the stinky one.
I have to admit, I’m terrible about being a good habitual flosser. If you just can’t get with that I beg you, rinse with mouth wash. And do it right. Don’t swig a bit and swish, swish spit. Swish it around in your mouth for a full 30 seconds. And I mean a Mississippi 30. One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi….. It’s gonna burn. Imagine it killing the bacteria in your mouth that makes you stinky.
If you follow these instructions you will have healthy teeth and gingiva! Your gums will stop being puffy, red and angry. They will turn to a healthy happy pink with in a week or two! (Note: people with severe periodontal disease will need deep cleanings by a professional to really take care of things but my instructions will still help IMMENSELY!)
I don’t mean to sound condescending but most adults don’t know how to correctly brush so you are not alone. I used to teach this daily. Note to smokers: You are particularly prone to periodontal disease so please be vigilant with your dental care. When we would cut into a non-smokers gum tissue it was moist, pink and would bleed immediately. A smokers tissue is gray, dry like jerky and when we would cut into it, the bleeding was delayed. That should scare you some. That means your blood is not circulating through all of your organs and tissues well. Not to mention what smoking does to your vocals. Don’t take your talent for granted. You too dancer extraordinaries!
So if I was a director I would spend some time on the first day of rehearsal reviewing dental care. I would encourage my cast to bathe regularly and if you don’t bathe everyday (it’s dry here) at least do your cast mates the courtesy of bathing the day of rehearsal. We are dancing together. Bodies are touching. Quarters are close. There will be smells. Let’s do what we can to keep the odors to a minimum.
This was written with love to all of my cast mates both past and present. Muah! Big kiss! (It’s OK. I take care of my mouth.)