Friday, December 30, 2011

Listerine Oral Care Challenge: The Results

See my first post for the full details of our challenge.

So here we are. We finished 3 weeks of the Listerine Oral Care Challenge, and while we didn't all come out with gold medals, I think I can confidently say that we've seen an improvement in our overall oral care!

The challenge was simple: brush, floss and use mouthwash twice a day, for the entire family. Since mouthwash often isn't recommended for Mira's age, we decided she would be exempt from mouthwash. Listerine sent us a challenge kit with everything we needed for our three weeks: new Reach toothbrushes, Reach floss, and Listerine mouthwash for adults and kids.

I had no trouble with brushing twice a day - it's a habit I've already had and one that will easily continue. Mouthwash wasn't too difficult to incorporate into my routine - most days I managed it twice a day, but there were a few days when I forgot. As for flossing...well, no gold star for me. I know I need to do it, but when I'm in a rush it always gets forgotten. I did floss a number of times, but certainly not every day.

My husband also got in his twice a day brushing, along with mouthwash. He had a cold during our challenge, so he sometimes used mouthwash more than twice a day - that minty-fresh feeling helped him feel a little better when his nose was clogged. But like me, he was a slacker on flossing. We now know what we need to work on in the year ahead.

For the kids, what I expected ended up being the complete opposite. Cordy may be the older child, but her autism often makes her hesitant to try anything new. She was happy to continue brushing her teeth as she usually does, but refused anything else. I thought she might be a little resistant to mouthwash, but I underestimated her fear of the new.

There was crying. And screaming. And refusal. And that was even before she had tasted anything. We attempted to coax her to try it several times, but the idea of putting a liquid into your mouth and then spitting it out was horrifying to her, and we eventually had to give up. I plan to try again in six months or so, and hopefully she'll reach a point where she'll try.

But Mira - the child who didn't need to use mouthwash - BEGGED us to let her try! She insisted that she could use it without swallowing it, so we let her try. She swished it around her mouth like a pro and spit it all out without any problems. And after that, she was hooked. She now uses mouthwash each day and she is incredibly proud of how well she's caring for her teeth. She's asked to start flossing soon, too. She tried all three of the kid mouthwashes, and the Listerine Smart Rinse Batman one is her favorite, although she likes that the Listerine Smart Rinse Barbie one is pink in color. (And she's using the Barbie Reach toothbrush.)

So the winner of the Listerine Oral Care Challenge in our house? The four year old! Despite having none of her adult teeth yet, she's doing a great job at making oral care habits that will hopefully last her for a lifetime, and guarantee dazzling pearly whites! She's also become the oral care coach (dictator, really) for the rest of the family: "Cordy, you really should twy moufwash." "Mommy, did you fwoss?" "Hey, I can't go to bed witfout bwushing my teef!"

I'm glad we had the opportunity to do this challenge. It helped us see the importance of caring for our teeth and gums, and showed us where we're lacking in our routine. After three weeks, my teeth definitely feel healthier and I've noticed they're not as sensitive as before.

Thank you, Listerine, for helping us establish new habits! I'd encourage everyone to take their own three week oral care challenge to find where your family can improve your brush-time habits like we did!

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Listerine and received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

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