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The Trombone ForumTeaching & LearningPractice Room(Moderator: blast) Brushing teeth before practicing?
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Andrew Meronek

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« on: Jan 07, 2018, 09:09AM »

I'm not sure if I'm just getting quirky in my old age, but recently I've found that given the chance I like to brush my teeth before starting to practice, and waiting 15 minutes after brushing to make sure my mouth is clean of toothpaste. Does anyone else do this? Are there really any benefits, playing-wise or practicing-wise?
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« Reply #1 on: Jan 07, 2018, 09:10AM »

I almost always brush my teeth between eating and playing, if only to keep the instrument and mouthpiece cleaner.
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« Reply #2 on: Jan 07, 2018, 09:19AM »

I often brush before playing.  I get cleaner articulations...
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Andrew Meronek

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« Reply #3 on: Jan 07, 2018, 11:15AM »

I almost always brush my teeth between eating and playing, if only to keep the instrument and mouthpiece cleaner.

This is my justification right now. Does seem to help.
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« Reply #4 on: Jan 07, 2018, 11:35AM »

I don't eat and then blow chunks through my horn. I brush with an ultrasonic device AND then floss AND then rinse thoroughly.

...Geezer
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« Reply #5 on: Jan 07, 2018, 01:58PM »

It is just not hygienic not to clean ones teeth before playing. I even carry a toothbrush kit in my gig bag to clean after eating at a gig - although I really do not like to eat at all when playing out. I also rinse with Listerine. Way cool

You can smell those that do not follow a tooth cleaning practice. Or rather, you can smell their bones.
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« Reply #6 on: Jan 07, 2018, 03:20PM »

I knew someone who used to brush her teeth before playing cello Amazed Don't know
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« Reply #7 on: Jan 07, 2018, 04:58PM »

I started the teeth-brushing-before-playing thing in high school, when I got my "good trombone," and I wanted to keep it in good condition.
(Some talented upperclassman trumpet, who ended up going to NEC, recommended the teeth-brushing thing. I figured he knew a thing or two.)

......

Today at trombone ensemble, the host warmed cider for us during a break. Awww.
"No thank you, not for me," I said. "I don't want to blow sugar through my horn."
He poured me a mug anyway and said, "You can swish your mouth out with water."

I still could have refused, but sometimes you just gotta roll with it.

I swished a LOT of water before playing again.
It wasn't my "good trombone" anyway.  :)
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« Reply #8 on: Jan 08, 2018, 12:04AM »

Hi. Always, I also carry a tooth brush with me to clean my teeth if I eat anything. A trombonist I know, when playing in theatres always left his horn on a stand in the pit between shows and his horn got fly blown and he had maggots in it. That was published in issue 45 Summer 1996 of the Australian Trombone Education Magazine. The article was called Slideraker-- The Man with the Golden Mouthpiece. Hope this gives you food for thought. Cheers Max
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« Reply #9 on: Jan 08, 2018, 02:02AM »

I’ll be the voice of dissent and say that while I do maintain good oral hygiene, I don’t make a point to brush between meals and playing.  I will rinse with water or eat a mint or two.  The reason being that small amounts of food that naturally linger in your mouth after meals stimulate saliva, preventing dry mouth.  Many years ago at one of my first auditions I wanted to do everything “just right” on the morning of.  So, I brushed my teeth beforehand, something I had never done before (or since). The result: dry mouth.  I would suggest if you brush and suffer from dry mouth, that could be a reason.
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« Reply #10 on: Jan 08, 2018, 03:12AM »

I've always brushed my teeth before playing.  Doesn't feel right to play unbrushed.

I have noticed the dry mouth feel that some toothpastes leave you with. 

Brushing without toothpaste before playing does the job pretty well.

The concert band I regularly play with has a mid-rehearsal break. 

There's only a few of us who don't get into the choc biscuits and tea or coffee.

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« Reply #11 on: Jan 08, 2018, 07:44AM »

If it's been more than a couple hours since eating/drinking, I don't brush. Otherwise, I'll brush and then rinse my mouth with water a couple times to get rid of most of the residual toothpaste. Food in your horn is bad, but toothpaste contains abrasives, so you really don't want that going into your horn, either.
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« Reply #12 on: Jan 08, 2018, 07:53AM »


There's only a few of us who don't get into the choc biscuits and tea or coffee.


In orchestras where I play, string players often get into snacks during the break.  Brass players tend to just look on longingly.
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« Reply #13 on: Jan 08, 2018, 01:47PM »

Never could be bothered...
Often in the middle a rehearsal (or a 3.5 hr opera) I'll have a sandwich or brezel. Never had an effect on my playing and I try not to overthink it. All of my colleagues except for our tubist are the same <insert tube of toothpaste joke here>.
On the first trombone it helps anyway. The more food that builds up in your horn, the more back pressure - easier to play in the high register.  Clever
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« Reply #14 on: Jan 08, 2018, 01:54PM »

Dentilogically speaking, if things keep going the same way for me as they slowly have been over the last 50 years, I may only have to worry about keeping both teeth clean.   Amazed

...Geezer
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« Reply #15 on: Jan 08, 2018, 03:26PM »

In orchestras where I play, string players often get into snacks during the break.  Brass players tend to just look on longingly.
Bring something that leaves their hands sticky and watch the fun... Evil
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« Reply #16 on: Jan 08, 2018, 03:31PM »

I normally don't eat anything and don't drink anything except water between last toothbrushing and practice/playing (which sometimes can be hours), unless I have to eat, such as during all-day practice, which is somewhat rare for my band. I used to carry toothbrush set in my bag for that, sometimes I still do, but normally it is kind of nuisance. I always rinse thoroughly before playing regardless.

Back in the days of middle school, my friends and I normally ate dinner at school's canteen and then come to practice, without brushing teeth or anything. Kids today still do that apparently. I went back to my school last week and cleaned those mouthpieces... Mouthpiece brush in, brown-to-black gunk came out. Yuck.
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« Reply #17 on: Jan 08, 2018, 03:48PM »

Dentilogically speaking, if things keep going the same way for me as they slowly have been over the last 50 years, I may only have to worry about keeping both teeth clean.   Amazed

...Geezer

See? Things do get simpler with age.
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« Reply #18 on: Jan 08, 2018, 04:18PM »

See? Things do get simpler with age.

Everyone tells me I do!

I thought miketrombone's post was an interesting take on this subject; food bits in the teeth causing salivation and helping with dry mouth. I can't abide by the bits of food on my two teeth, but maybe sucking on a lemon would help with that. I wonder what band-mates would say if I did that...

...Geezer
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« Reply #19 on: Jan 08, 2018, 04:34PM »

Everyone tells me I do!

I thought miketrombone's post was an interesting take on this subject; food bits in the teeth causing salivation and helping with dry mouth. I can't abide by the bits of food on my two teeth, but maybe sucking on a lemon would help with that. I wonder what band-mates would say if I did that...

...Geezer

Hmmm... I thought I recalled an old Little Rascals black and white where an audience member sucked a lemon to derail a horn player... but it's so looooong ago..

But in line with Mike's comment and yours: have you heard of sodium lauryl sulfate?  It's a foaming agent in many toothpastes.  It can (not the same as "will") also cause dry mouth. 

So my contribution to this thread is: try something like Biotene that does NOT contain SLS.  I find that, with my favorite toothpaste, I can NOT brush before playing.  With Biotene I can.  YMMV.
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« Reply #20 on: Jan 08, 2018, 04:49PM »

Hmmm... I thought I recalled an old Little Rascals black and white where an audience member sucked a lemon to derail a horn player... but it's so looooong ago..

But in line with Mike's comment and yours: have you heard of sodium lauryl sulfate?  It's a foaming agent in many toothpastes.  It can (not the same as "will") also cause dry mouth. 

So my contribution to this thread is: try something like Biotene that does NOT contain SLS.  I find that, with my favorite toothpaste, I can NOT brush before playing.  With Biotene I can.  YMMV.

I know! That's where I got that lemon scene. It was priceless.

I don't suffer much from dry mouth; on occasion, though. I think this bears some experimentation. Of course, each of our experiences may differ, but if it helps someone, that's great. Biotene or it's equivalent, with the idea of trying a toothpaste that does not contain SLS. Got to check it out!   Good!

...Geezer
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« Reply #21 on: Jan 10, 2018, 03:19PM »

I brush my teeth beforehand, too. 

But then I am likely to also pour an IPA, or maybe a chardonnay, or maybe an IPA and a chardonnay. 

But at least everything is clean...

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« Reply #22 on: Jan 11, 2018, 03:47AM »

Hmmm... I thought I recalled an old Little Rascals black and white where an audience member sucked a lemon to derail a horn player... but it's so looooong ago..

But in line with Mike's comment and yours: have you heard of sodium lauryl sulfate?  It's a foaming agent in many toothpastes.  It can (not the same as "will") also cause dry mouth. 

So my contribution to this thread is: try something like Biotene that does NOT contain SLS.  I find that, with my favorite toothpaste, I can NOT brush before playing.  With Biotene I can.  YMMV.

Interesting. I use Arm & Hammer toothpaste, which has SLS, but it doesn't bother me via dry mouth. On the other hand, I don't like other toothpastes because they usually feel like they leave a film in my mouth and the A&H doesn't.
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« Reply #23 on: Yesterday at 12:47 PM »

I don't eat and then blow chunks through my horn. I brush with an ultrasonic device AND then floss AND then rinse thoroughly.

...Geezer

Yeah, but it's easier when you can take your teeth out of your mouth.
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« Reply #24 on: Yesterday at 01:46 PM »

Yeah, but it's easier when you can take your teeth out of your mouth.

 :D

How true! But in my case, I only have two teeth left to worry about anyway. I gum most of my notes!

...Geezer
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« Reply #25 on: Yesterday at 04:28 PM »

Maybe one of the techs will chime in here...

I used to work in a music store many years ago. When brass instruments came back from rentals, part of my job was to assess whether a simply wash with soap and water would do, or whether it needed a chem clean. I couldn’t believe some of the gunk that came out of horns, some of which had only been rented a few weeks!

My view:
It’s less work to keep your teeth clean than it is to bring your horn in to the shop frequently for chem cleans.

Accumulated gunk in the horn can cause corrosion and erosion. Sometimes, parts need to be replaced because of accumulated gunk. Far easier to brush the teeth to keep your teeth and the horn clean. Think of it as regular preventive maintenance.

I’d say—without any evidence to support this, mind you—that it’s far cheaper to keep your teeth and horn clean by brushing before hand. Yes, you might blow some abrasive material into the horn. I believe the risk of that is significantly less than the risk of malfunction due to blowing bits of food and drink into the horn. There are less-abrasive toothpastes out there. Search and find...

If your toothpaste leaves your mouth dry, find a different toothpaste.

Finally, there’s a few documented cases of accumulated gunk causing respiratory problems in musicians. Why risk developing a potentially serious health problem, including dental problems, that can be completely avoided by 2-3 minutes of maintenance before you play? Make it part of your routine, like stretching, or lubing the slide before you play.
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