You Said a Mouthful

This is about a girl I ran into that I hadn’t seen for a while. I’ve known Teri for over  twenty-five years though you couldn’t quite call us friends; more like good acquaintances with far too little to share to have intimacy of any kind, more than an honest assessment.

Teri used it work for a medical group in my neighborhood who let her go after thirty years of faithful service. She had taken a rare leave of absence to have a hip replacement but was quietly not asked back.

I always wondered why but never felt it was appropriate to ask. Like I said, we weren’t close friends.

When I saw her I was rushing to go to work, but like many people when you say, I’m sorry I can’t talk right now, they hear, but I can still give you a good fifteen minutes.

She lamented on that street corner how for two years she hasn’t been able to find work. She blamed it on turning sixty and how if a position was between her and a younger gal she’d lose hands down.

What I remembered about her was her elegant, easy style despite a lifelong battle with weight. Her blonde hair was always coiffed and curled and she’d wear starched button-downs always with the collar flipped up over nicely pressed khakis. I also loved her jewelry: big, wooden bangles and pastel beads and she was never without a great looking handbag.

All this came to mind as she yammered on about those mysterious powers that be who were preventing her from finding employment.

Then I saw something I had never noticed before.

Teri’s teeth from top to bottom were completely rotten. I thought maybe it was the way the light was hitting her but then I got a whiff of what all those interviewers must get when they first meet her. I was stunned.

Could this be why her former employer let her go?

And why, pray tell, hasn’t anyone said anything to her. She has siblings, a mother who only recently passed away and more than that, how can she not know herself?

I was more than a little bewildered.

Finally I had to excuse myself.

“Teri I really must go. I’m going to be late,” I said, turning my face when she went to hug me good-bye.

“Let’s have coffee soon, okay Susannah. I have so much more to tell you.”

I lied and said I’d call knowing I wouldn’t because how could I not tell her. I’d have to, and let’s face it, what right did I have when you come right down to it.

First of all, if it were me, I’d want to know. Just the other day I asked my pal Ed if my breath was a little off since a girl we were with kept offering me mints making my awareness more than a little acute.

My question where Teri is concerned is, how can she be that unaware she has such a serious problem?

I’m almost positive this is the reason she’s not getting hired since it’s more than a little offensive with clearly no solution in sight.

I do know some people are terrified of the dentist but you can’t live your life with what has to be an infected mouth. It’s been proven that if teeth aren’t properly taken care of it can cause heart disease among other illnesses.

Is it possible she has no clue?

It made me sad since self-care is such an important part of self-esteem so worth staying on top of.

Camille said I should mind my own business and just brush my own teeth.

I know she’s right, but I can’t help thinking about it.

I’ve also noticed I’m flossing a lot more often, like hourly.

Think that’s too much?


About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Thanks.
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12 Responses to You Said a Mouthful

  1. skinnyuz2b says:

    Yes, Susannah, we all know one or two people that have horrible breath. And it’s so difficult to let them know. A very handsome and young millionaire that I dated back in ’72 (when a million meant something) had an ulcer.I’m guessing that is what caused his bad breath because his teeth were brushed. His breath was a contributing factor, along with not loving him, for my negative reply to his proposal.
    I think I’ll do extra flossing today, too.


    • You had them falling in the aisles Skinny…and yeah, that could have been why. You made me think of a comic I dated who was so cute but had bad breath 24/7. He also had stomach issues so it was assumed by all the girls he dated that was the problem. I think he dated so many women because none stuck around very long. Like renting a cool looking car that didn’t run very well…you had no choice but to take it back to the dealer.


  2. micklively says:

    I’m told that you can’t smell your own breath. It makes sense: wild animals, with no dental hygiene regime, would never be able to smell anything else. I believe this is due to the way the synapse work. You’ve only able to transmit changes. (ask big bro, the neuroscientist)
    Bad breath is vile. It makes me retch. Years ago, I had an employee whose breath could drop an elephant at forty paces. The word was that he’d not cleaned his teeth in years. He also enjoyed the infamy of the shortest marriage anyone could remember, at two days. I wonder if the two were connected in some way?


  3. katecrimmins says:

    That is exactly why no one is hiring her. When I worked in HR, we looked at things like that because it creates havoc in a work group. You end up with a lot of unhappy employees. I also can’t believe no one has told her. Yep, if you end up at lunch, you will have to tell her (take a gas mask too).


    • NO NO, I CAN’T. After thinking about it, how can she not know. Maybe she doesn’t realize how bad it is, that is possible, but come on. Wouldn’t you know? I would. I know when I have a chia seed caught in a tooth. Something, even that small, can cause an odor over time. Her teeth all need to be pulled and replaced with dentures. Made me think of when George Washington’s wooden set was on tour. Honestly…they went to all kinds of museums across the country. Now he must have said a mouthful too…ooh


  4. she is most likely aware of it all, but not wanting to do much about it… good luck! It is probably affecting her self esteem which is also hindering the job search… it’s difficult to do something when you run into someone like this.


  5. D. D. Syrdal says:

    Whether the teeth were keeping her from getting hired or her age depends on if she was getting interviews to start with. Ageism is a real thing, people younger than she is are having problems getting hired. If she gets interviews, yeah, the teeth would be a big turnoff if they’re that bad.

    I agree with Kate, find a kind way to suggest she get them spiffed up to show off her charming smile better. Or something. She may get angry but in the long run you’d probably be doing her a favor. If no one has told her, that’s just cruel. If her breath is bad as well, ask her gently how her health is.

    It’s always the people with the worst breath that need to get in close to whisper something to you.


    • I just know I’ll hurt her feelings and we mustn’t forget I’m a huge coward. Again, she must know. I’m sure her age has something to do with it, but she knows many people in the medical profession who think highly of her, so I think it’s more the other. You can’t fuck with your teeth Dame…they’re the only set you have…like the late great prophet Soupy Sales used to say: Be true to your teeth and they’ll never be false to you..he’s right up there with Plato and Emerson, don’t you think 🙂


      • D. D. Syrdal says:

        It is hard to imagine she’s oblivious to the state of her teeth. Speaking as someone who does not have perfect teeth, I know how costly it can be to get them brought up to a state of perfection. But if they’re that awful I’d have to do something. I wonder if she has a phobia about going to the dentist? It’s a common fear.


      • I know that…my pal Ella is petrified of the dentist. I guess it depends what you’re in for. I also know it’s costly since most insurances don’t cover dental. Ugh…


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