Listerine & Reach Oral Care Blogger Challenge #HealthyHabits

As a mom it’s my responsibility to ensure that my family is happy and healthy. From the time children are toddlers we need to teach them many important things including personal hygiene and oral care.

I hate to admit this but growing up my parents didn’t put much emphasis on oral care. I knew I had to brush and floss my teeth but my parents really didin’t stress upon the importance of taking care of my teeth. I can remember being little and not brushing my teeth for days at a time (EWWWW!!!!). As a result I have a mouth full of fillings. I wish I could go back in time and change things. I also wish that my parents were a bit more diligent to make sure I brushed and flossed at least twice a day instead of letting me do it whenever I felt like it.

When my children were little I was determined NOT to let them make the same mistakes that I did, especially when it came to caring for my teeth. I made sure to brush their teeth when they first came in and when they were both 18 months old I made sure to take them to the dentist every six months. I also make sure my kids brush at least twice a day and floss twice a day and use a mouth rinse at least once a day. As a result my kids have only had one cavity (my son) and it was a little one. My daughter had two fillings but they were from “pits” in her teeth, not cavities.

Here is a really sad statistic – The surgeon general reports that 51 million school hours are missed each year because of dental-related illness. WOW! That is A LOT of missed time at school when children need to be present to learn and so that they don’t fall behind in their classwork.

Sadly tooth decay is the most common chronic disease affecting children in the U.S and 50 percent of children will have a cavity or filling between the ages of 5 and 9. This is why its very important to instill good oral habits at a young age.

It’s still a bit of a struggle to get my kids to take better care of their teeth. If I leave them alone they will only brush and rinse in the AM. Neither of them would floss and I know they wouldn’t brush their teeth at night before going to bed. They are too “busy”. Ha! Not really.

If you have a hard time getting your kids to take care of their teeth here are some tips that might help.

Tips for your kids from Dr. Kaneta Lott, DDS (pediatric dentist):

–   Make oral care fun (e.g., make it a game; brush, floss and rinse to music; etc).

–   Reward their behavior (e.g., give gold stars for good oral care). Making a chart is the perfect way to accomplish this. Use a blank calendar sheet and have children mark off when they brushed, flossed and used a rinse.

–   Show, don’t tell – make oral care a family affair.

–   Involve them in their own oral care routine by providing products like Listerine Smart Rinse, which can make the daily routine more fun, provides 12-hour cavity protection for kids and strengthens teeth 99 percent better than brushing alone.

My husband grew up the same way I did. He didn’t brush or floss twice a day either. In fact he was 9 years old before he finally went to a dentist. He was afraid to go all the years leading up to that.

When I was asked if I wanted to participate in the Listerine & Reach Oral Care Blogger Challenge I jumped on the opportunity. I am hoping that I can get my entire family – including myself – on board with healthy oral care habits.

Here are some interesting facts.

Did you know?

–   Nearly 75 percent of American adults suffer from various forms of periodontal (gum) disease* and don’t know it. That is a scary thought! My dentist has never made me aware of this. I hope I’m not one of the 75%!

–   Brushing your teeth alone misses the germs in 75 percent of your mouth.WOW! That is a really horrible statistic. Seventy five percent? How can that be? Gross!

–   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. I don’t smile with my teeth. It doesn’t have to do with my teeth. I just think I look dorky when I smile and show my teeth. 🙂

–   Even sadder, 15 percent don’t kiss their loved ones. No me! I come from a huggy-kissy family. Hugs and kisses are plentiful in my family.

Dr. John Dodes, DDS offers these easy tips.

–   Clean the entire mouth.

–   Make sure you are brushing and flossing correctly.

–   Avoid sticky foods.

–   Go to the dentist twice a year.

Because so many people strive to have healthy behaviors in our everyday lives including eating right, exercising and getting enough water (as well as oral care), Listerine and Reach are proud supporters of  the American Heart Association’s My Heart. My Life initiative. Their goal is to educate and empower Americans to make positive lifestyle choices each day – including good oral care.

To learn more about the American Heart Association’s My Heart. My Life initiative, visit www.MyHeartMyLife.org.

Good oral care doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. And it doesn’t even take up much time. If you just dedicate a few MINUTES per day you can improve the quality of your teeth and avoid a lot of serious dental issues in the future. Once you get yourself into a good routine and stick with it, it will become like second nature to you.

Good oral care is also A LOT less expensive than frequent dentist visits for cavities, root canal (the worst!) and other serious issues. According to a 2010 report from the Pew Center on the States, total annual spending for dental care is expected to increase 58 percent, from $101.9 billion to $161.4 billion through 2018. Yikes! That is A LOT of money.

We spent $10,000+ on my daughter’s mouth between two rounds of braces, two different palette extenders and oral surgery. That last thing I want is to have to spend MORE $$$ to take care of her teeth. That is why I want my kids to have good oral habits NOW, before it’s too late.

Some affordable products that can help you to take care of your teeth include:

–   Reach Total Care Multi-action toothbrush. It has multi-directional bristles that thoroughly clean teeth from all directions. It can help you to remove up to 90% of plaque. 

–   Reach Total Care Floss. It’s designed for superior plaque removal and teeth whitening.

–   Listerine Rinse Antiseptic. Add this to your to your morning and nighttime routines, along with your usual brushing. It has been clinically proven to to help reduce up to 70 percent more plaque and 36 percent more gingivitis than brushing and flossing alone.

You can shop smart for all your oral care products at places like www.Walmart.com.

For more ways of improving your oral care routine, and for an educational message from professional snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler, visit www.Listerine.com (Coming Soon!).

You can also follow the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #HealthyHabits.

As part of the Listerine & Reach Oral Care Blogger Challenge my family recieved a lot of fabulous oral care products including new toothbrushes (remember to replace them often!), mouth rinses for both adults and kids and floss. I also have a handy chart for my kids. I am not going to “reward” them with stickers or what nots, but I am hopeful that SEEING the chart will remind them to brush, floss and rinse both in the morning and at night and simply not just brush alone or wait for us to nag them to brush before going to bed.

I will write an update post about how my family makes out with the challenge in a few weeks (March 16th to be exact). At that time I’ll also be doing a giveaway for a $100 Walmart gift card AND Listerine samples.


*I am being compensated for this challenge by The Motherhood. I also received free oral care products from Walmart and Johnson & Johnson. All opinions expressed are my own and are not influenced in any way.

About Kimberly

Kimberly Vetrano resides in the suburbs of New York City with her family and "mini zoo" consisting of five cats, a dog and a Goldfish. Kimberly is a teacher's assistant for a Kindergarten class. When she is not working or blogging, Kimberly enjoys taking photos of nature and hanging out with family and friends.


  1. Thanks for this post! I really need to take better care of my teeth. 75 percent!? Wow! that’s astonishing. I am one of the 75% unfortunately. Until recently I didn’t know that oral care can affect other parts of our bodies and cause serious problems not only in the mouth but even with the heart.