My poor kids are doomed when it comes to their oral health. I personally have had 35 cavities filled, 5 teeth pulled, 2 rounds of braces and 3 root canals in my 40 years here on this earth. I used to blame my rotten teeth on the Coke & Pizza Diet that I lived on for the first half of my adult life, but then I cleaned up my act, and my teeth are still giving me fits. I had two root canals in the last month alone!
My husband’s teeth aren’t quite as bad as mine, but they aren’t great either. We both brush regularly and floss occasionally, ahem. And we eat well.
My kids haven’t fared much better in the oral health department. They have each had a few small cavities filled, and getting them to brush and floss is like . . . I was going to say “pulling teeth” but that metaphor is just too ironic. We’ll go with “a chore”.
But it’s not just that. They all have what the dentist calls “deep grooves” in their teeth — in other words, they are just unlucky recipients of our doomed dental gene pool and will have to work extra hard to avoid cavities. Grand!
They aren’t diligent about their oral health either. There are many days when I ask one or more of my kids if they brushed their teeth, and they give me that sheepish grin. We all know what that means. (“We all” being moms, of course.)
Just thinking about them going through the day like that turns my stomach. I may not be an excellent flosser, but the first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth.
Recently we took my son to the dentist because one of his gums was looking swollen and I was concerned. The dentist looked in his mouth and declared that the swelling was due to plaque around the gum line, and he must start flossing correctly. (My kids have those “flossers” that they use occasionally, but I don’t think they were doing a very good job with them.)
That was the final straw for me. I decided I was taking my family’s oral health into my own hands — quite literally! I actually got into my daughter’s mouth with the floss and showed her what it should feel like. I want my kids to have beautiful, healthy smiles, and there is certainly no reason why they shouldn’t. We do live in 2013, after all!
Our dentist showed my son how to floss properly and get up under his gums on each side of each tooth. I brought the girls over while he demonstrated, so they could see the proper technique. When we got home that day, I made sure to watch them floss and brush to ensure they were doing a good job. And I’ve been diligent about asking them morning and night if they’ve brushed and flossed.
As for me? I have gone from an occasional flosser to a daily flosser. I never EVER go to bed without taking off my makeup and brushing my teeth. WHY can’t I add flossing to that routine? I know, I’m 40 years old and I’m finally coming to this realization. Pitiful. So I did. Just like that. I made a conscious decision to add flossing to my nightly routine and not to deviate for ANY reason, I don’t care HOW tired I am. And I’ve been doing it now for a few weeks.
The other thing we’ve added to our oral health routine is mouthwash.
I’ve never used mouthwash and didn’t really think it was necessary, but given our dental history, I decided we can use all the help we can get.
This campaign with Collective Bias came at just the right time. When they invited me to do a social shopper insights study that required going to Target and shopping for Colgate mouthwash, I had to laugh. They had no idea how ironic this request was for us! Just that day, when I was telling a friend about my son’s swollen gums, she asked if we use mouthwash.
Of course I never need anyone to twist my arm to go to Target, so I took a trip the very next day.
After meandering around the entire store, filling my cart with all sorts of necessities I didn’t know I needed – ha! – I landed in the oral health aisle. Because they were running a buy 2 get one free deal on all Colgate products, I picked up 2 bottles of mouthwash and a tooth brush for me. (I left mine a hotel room somewhere and have been using one of the kids’ freebies from the dentist for the past few months.)
Here’s a picture of my cart before I started loading my loot into my car. Does everyone else always end up with a cart full when they go to Target for “just one thing”?????
My kids were delighted when I got home. Who knew that mouthwash was such a novelty!? Of course, they each wanted their own bottle so I was regretting not buying a few extras, but they’re making do with two for now. I gave them the lecture about never swallowing it, and all that jazz. I’ve been much more diligent about making sure they brush and rinse before leaving the house in the mornings, and each night I make sure they brush and floss and rinse. So far, their teeth are looking much better. My son’s gums are no longer swollen, and their teeth are all looking much whiter.
As for our oral health? Only time will tell. I’d love to spend less time in the dentist’s chair, funding his exotic vacations. We shall see if my new flossing and rinsing regimen will reduce my frequency of cavities and root canals.
For now, these healthy smiles sure are pretty to look at!