One Bad Visit at the Dentist Gave My Kids Good Oral Care Habits

good oral care habits

The following is a guest post from our sponsor, Listerine Kids.

When your 6-year old gets a "gold star" for reading her first book or your 11-year old takes first place at the science fair, you can't help feeling that you've won, too. On the flip side, when I took my kids to the dentist and he told me that they both had a lot of plaque and that the older one had a cavity, I have to admit I glanced in the mirror to see if "bad mom" was printed on my forehead. I felt horrible.

And the weird thing is that I thought that my kids did an okay job brushing their teeth. Clearly the dentist had seen this kind of mom-guilt before, because he reassured me that most kids don't brush their teeth thoroughly, and that there were simple ways to improve oral care habits.

First stop, the drug store to pick up some Listerine® Agent Cool Blue®-a tinting rinse and Listerine® Smart RinseTM -- an anticavity fluoride rinse.

I knew it was really important for my youngest to learn to do a good job brushing her teeth by herself and Agent Cool Blue® could really help me teach her to brush thoroughly. So, before she brushes, first she rinses with Agent Cool Blue®. It tints her teeth blue just enough so that she can see exactly where she needs to brush. It slows her down and when all the blue is gone we both know she's really done a great job. Extra perk: she loves watching her teeth turn blue and then getting them white again, so she has a great time brushing.

Now, for the older one. Obviously that humbling trip to the dentist proved to both of us that not only did my son need to brush better, but also that brushing alone was probably not enough to really protect against cavities. So now he uses Smart RinseTM after he brushes his teeth. His dentist recommended it to help fight against cavities. And unlike other fluoride rinses, it has an added perk: it also works like a magnet, attracting stray food particles and germs, then tints them so when he spits in the sink he can see all the gunk that brushing left behind.  (Gross to me, very cool to him).

Not having to get another filling seems to be pretty good motivation to brush better, but seeing the specks of gunk when he spits doesn't hurt either. Okay, I'll admit it, I use it too sometimes, it is kinda cool.

No one ever gives gold stars or trophies to moms, which I think is incredibly unfair, because there are so few times we can really feel confident that we're doing a good job. But I've gotta tell you, when we went for their next dentist's visit and he beamed about how clean their mouths were I felt like I had won big time. Still, a trophy would be nice.

Snag a $1.00 off coupon for either LISTERINE® SMART RINSETM or LISTERINE® AGENT COOL BLUE® over at

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