I'm a part of the Motherhood... and if you haven't been to one of their informative chats, you are missing out. They bring in bloggers, experts, and all sorts of brand goodness to help moms with just about every imaginable thing they want to learn about. I have participated on pregnancy and motherhood chats and most recently, they invited me to take the LISTERINE® and REACH® Oral Care Challenge.
My dentist says that "you only have to floss the teeth you want to keep"... and as I have gotten older, that stint in the hygenist's chair seems to be getting more and more uncomfortable. I used to make fun of my mom when she said they had to give her laughing gas just to clean her teeth, but now that I'm nearly 40, I'm afraid that flossing is either in my future, or I may be following in her footsteps. Not only that, but one of my kids has had a cavity before (amazingly, it was the one that likes to brush and rinse the most).
With little kids watching us, I also want to make brushing, rinsing and flossing something fun that we do as a habit - so they learn to do the same. [If only I could figure out how to teach the 3 year old to SPIT his toothpaste out!]
Experts say that 50% of children have at least one cavity or filling between the ages of 5 and 9... and that rinsing with Listerine Smart Rinse strengthens kid's teeth 99% better than just brushing. As soon as my toddlers are old enough to rinse (they say not to start until your kids are over 4), I'm going to start them. For now, my big kids are going to take the full challenge, and we are going to just stick to brushing and flossing with the little guys.
Listerine and REACH shared this information with the bloggers at their pre-challenge conference call, and it really is info that should be available for parents:
- Nearly 75 percent of American adults suffer from various forms of periodontal (gum) disease* and don’t know it.
- 51 million hours of school are missed each year because of children who have dental problems. [We've used a huge chunk of this million this year in my house alone.]
- Brushing your teeth alone misses the germs in 76% of your mouth.
- According to a survey conducted by the makers of LISTERINE® and REACH®, over one-third of Americans don’t eat their favorite foods or smile in photos because of dental problems like cavities, tooth pain and gingivitis.
- Even sadder, 15 percent don’t kiss their loved ones.
As you all know, teeth are expensive and permanent. My daughter had oral surgery this year to remove 10 teeth (thank God for in-laws to help you afford Maxillofacial surgery). I have TWO teens in braces. You don't have to explain to me how important oral care is.
Here are some resources you can check out that will help you on your oral care journey:
- To learn more about the American Heart Association’s My Heart. My Life.™ initiative, visit www.MyHeartMyLife.org.
- To hear more about improving your oral care routine and see an educational message from professional snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler, visit www.Listerine.com. (Coming Soon!)
- And shop smart for your oral care products at www.Walmart.com.
LISTERINE® and REACH® sent us a box full of "tools" to use while taking the challenge - and a nifty chart (you can download the PDF) to mark our progress. My kids had no idea that there were as many flavors of rinse as they sent us, and promptly turned the moment in to a "product test" homeschool activity with their grandfather. He even tried the pink Barbie flavor! They decided on a favorite and whisked away a toothbrush and bottle of rinse to their bathrooms. They have been eagerly awaiting our challenge since.
The plan is to go for THREE WEEKS and keep track of our family's progress - brushing, flossing, and rinsing twice a day (and after lunch if we can remember it).
You can join along with us (at this link: www.walmart.com/AHA/Listerine/Reach) if you want! [I know at least one other person who had flossing as one of her new year's resolutions!]
I'll be tweeting about our progress on Twitter (you can follow me at @sprittibee) using the #healthyhabits hashtag. At the end of the three weeks, I'll be posting about our family's experience and sharing our product test results and any notes and comments from our kids about the journey. [If you don't know what a twitter hashtag is.... um... well, just stop off at Facebook and I'll be linking up my posts over there, too!]
I love the ideas put forth by the LISTERINE® and REACH® team to put music to your brushing routine, to use a gold star type point system or chart (my favorite star iPhone app for chores and hygeine is iReward Chart), and offering your kids prizes or rewards if they do well for a certain period of time.
Don't tell the LISTERINE® and REACH® guys, but I plan to give them all a pint of ice-cream of the flavor they like best if they complete the challenge by the end of the three weeks with stars on every day. I'm going to set iPhone alarms, too. If we brush, rinse, and floss after we have our sugary ice-cream treat, I'm sure we'll be OK!
Be watching for some pearly white smiles in three weeks!
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by the Motherhood, Walmart, LISTERINE® and REACH® but the opinions expressed and the photography and graphics are my own.