Did you know if you only brush your teeth, you miss 75% of your mouth? Even if you brush twice a day, you’re still missing a majority of your mouth, leaving plenty of room for germs to grow. Yuck, right? I’m participating in the LISTERINE® 21 Day Challenge with my family to improve our oral health within 21 days by brushing, flossing and using LISTERINE’s ULTRACLEAN twice a day, while helping children in need across America receive oral care through Oral Health America’s “Smiles Across America” Program.
Why 21 days? According to research, it takes 21 days to develop a habit! I’m doing this challenge to show my children that we can develop better habits to take care of our teeth.
Here are some scary stats:
- Tooth decay has become the most chronic childhood illness in the U.S.1
- Millions of children are suffering and experience pain so severe, it affects their ability to eat, sleep and learn
- It doesn’t just affect children either, as nearly half of American adults also suffer from some form of periodontal (gum) disease and may not even know it
- As many as 130 million Americans lack dental insurance, including more than 15.4 million children
- More than 51 million school hours and 164 million work hours are lost each year due to dental disease, leading to increased educational disparities and decreased productivity1
We’ve always tried to take good care of our teeth and carefully brush our kids’ teeth – and it’s even more important now because my toddler Skylar is going to lose two of them due to his recent fall. But, even with a lots of dentists in our family, my kids don’t understand how important it is to make sure their mouths are clean. While we were always careful to brush their teeth, we hadn’t taught them how to floss and never used an oral rinse with my two oldest. My 7.5 year old son is about to lose his fifth tooth and will probably need braces in a couple of years (his teeth are growing in a little nutty) and my five year old will probably start losing her teeth in a year. So, we need to start teaching them better habits NOW, so they can continue to take care of their pearly whites. While we will still brush our toddler’s teeth, he’ll see his brother and sister taking care of their teeth, so he’ll learn from them. For the next 21 days, my family is going to commit to brushing, flossing, and using an oral rinse twice a day.
To participate in LISTERINE® 21 Day Challenge, we were sent a box of items to help; new toothbrushes (it was time to replace ours anyway), floss, and oral rinses for the kids and for us.
We had to change our normal teeth brushing routine.
In the morning, we usually send the kids into the bathroom to brush their teeth on their own before they go to school. A night, my husband and I take turns taking the kids one by one into the bathroom and helping them brush their teeth (to make sure they get everything).
But with the LISTERINE 21 Day Challenge, things were going to have to change. On the first night of our challenge, I explained to my oldest child, Ben, and my middle child, Allegra, what we were going to do and why we were doing it. They weren’t too concerned about taking better care of their mouths, but their new toothbrushes (with Barbie and Phineas and Ferb) and the LISTERINE Smart Rinse (Perry from Phineas and Ferb) got them really excited. I gave them their new toothbrushes and we brushed like we always do. Then I showed them how to floss (though I needed to help this with this). Then we finished up with each child using LISTERINE’s Smart Rinse (which was a BIG hit). I taught them how to do the “swishy-swish”. Smart Rinse is recommended for children over 6. My daughter is 5, but she would have been very upset if I hadn’t let her use it.
My husband and I had our assignments too. While we brush 2x a day and floss every day, we”ve both slacked off on using an oral rinse. This challenge will help us step up our oral care regime.
So, we’ll be checking in to let you all know how we’re doing with our LISTERINE 21 Day Challenge soon. I want you and your families to commit with take part too. Besides helping your family’s oral hygeine, for every person who signs up for the challenge, the LISTERINE® Brand will make a contribution to help Oral Health America’s Smiles Across America program toward their goal of providing oral health services for up to 210,000 children in need in 2013 (up to $85,000).
So, will you join me? Sign up at www.facebook.com/listerine. There, you can learn more about the partnership with Oral Health America, as well as sign up for a fun reminder app in which you can adopt a “pet mouth” to help keep you on track during the challenge!
I received products from Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Products Division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc. and The Motherhood as part of my participation in the LISTERINE® 21 Day Challenge. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own.
 Journal of Dental Research, “Prevalence of Periodontitis in Adults in the United States: 2009 and 2010”. http://jdr.sagepub.com/content/early/2012/08/29/0022034512457373.abstract
 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, “Dental Coverage of Children and Young Adults under 21, United States, 1996 and 2006”. http://meps.ahrq.gov/mepsweb/data_files/publications/st221/stat221.pdf