How We Messed Up Our Kid’s Teeth and What We’re Doing To Fix It #Listerine

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Disclosure: I taught my child the importance of oral health care with LISTERINE® Smart Rinse, as part of a sponsored post for Socialstars #LISTERINE
How we messed up our kid's teeth, and what we're doing to fix it

We are no strangers to dental drama.

Learning proper dental hygiene for yourself is one thing. Learning proper dental hygiene for your kids is an entirely different ball game.

Ironically, our troubles all started with “Dr.’s orders”. Our oldest was terribly skinny as a toddler. He had a lot of food sensitivities (and, as we would find out later on, a lot of food allergies) and was a very picky eater.

It was also really difficult to get him to eat. The crazy kid would only eat when he could be entertained at the same time. The Husband and I look back and laugh about some of the things we did to distract our son so we could basically trick him into taking a bite.

While he turned a corner at about 3 years old and began eating voluntarily, no more trickery by Mom and Dad, he still didn’t eat much and was falling off his growth curve. The doctor wasn’t pleased and suggested we up the amount of juice we were giving him each day (that was back when doctors recommended we give our kids a glass of juice every day). Instead of one sippy cup of juice every day, we now gave him two. Looking back on this advice I can only give one big *facepalm*.

Things quickly snowballed, and naive as we were then about nutrition, our son drank nothing but milk and juice…in a sippy cup. He kept up with the sippy cup until he was almost 4 years old…another mistake.

We’ve wised up over the course of several years. Unfortunately, our son, who is now 8 years old has paid the price for our naiveté about good dental hygiene for kids.

So, learn from our mistakes and…

  • — Realize that juice is a “sometimes treat” and not an everyday (or multiple times a day) drink.
  • — Don’t think that just because your kid is little he doesn’t need to brush twice a day.
  • — Don’t think that just because your kid is little he doesn’t need to floss.
  • — Don’t avoid taking your child to the dentist just because you don’t have dental insurance. It might end up costing you way more in the long run.

Thankfully, as with all bad experiences, The Husband and I had an opportunity to learn from our mistakes.

Listerine Smart Rinse

Her are a few of the bits of dental hygiene wisdom we’ve learned along the way:

  • — Limit sugary foods. I know, I know, that is completely incongruous with the American diet. But, it is totally doable and totally worth it.
  • — Teach your kids to use a regular cup early on OR only put water in your child’s sippy cup. When a child carries around a sippy cup with milk or juice and sips from it constantly throughout the day, they are continually bathing their teeth in sugars that can contribute to dental cavities.
  • — Early in your child’s life, establish a routine of brushing twice a day. My kids balked at the idea of having to do one more thing during their morning routine, so we just pretend brushing teeth is a part of getting dressed. You’re never fully dressed without [brushing your] smile.
  • — Teach your kids to floss. It is important for kids to learn to floss regularly. Even if their baby teeth still have space in between them they will still get cavity-contributing debris from between their teeth when they floss.
  •   -Have your kids rinse with a good mouthwash.

About a year ago our dentist recommended my kids use LISTERINE® Smart Rinse for kids. Even though my kids were doing, what I thought, was a good job of brushing their teeth, they were missing a lot of plaque along their gum lines and between their teeth. Our dentist advised us that the LISTERINE® Smart Rinse would train our boys (and their parents!) to brush better.

The dye in the LISTERINE Smart Rinse is designed to bind to the food particles that are left on a child’s teeth after brushing. When they spit they can see all the particles that the Smart Rinse has rinsed out of their mouth. They can also look at their teeth and see areas they may have missed with their toothbrush.

How to use Listerine Smart Rinse

So, after brushing and rinsing with LISTERINE® Smart Rinse here is what his teeth looked like–brace yourself, it isn’t pretty…

Listerine Smart Rinse after

The LISTERINE® Smart Rinse has colored all the food particles stuck on his teeth blue so that he (and mom and dad) can see what he  has missed. As you can see he did a pretty poor job of brushing, so now it is on to teeth brushing round 2…

Teeth brushing round 2

Big Brother still has a ways to go before I consider him independently responsible for his own morning and evening teeth cleaning routine. However, seeing how much he has plaque and food he has missed is slowly but surely helping him improve his teeth cleaning. His teeth already look so much cleaner when I do random mid-day teeth checks on him.

Aside from helping you and your children see where they can brush better, LISTERINE® Smart Rinse for kids provides cavity protection with flouride. Rinsing before bed, and not eating or drinking after rinsing, allows the flouride to work its cavity protection on your child’s teeth.  It is also alcohol free, so it won’t sting your child’s mouth.

Here are some more fun and important facts about LISTERINE Smart Rinse:

  • — LISTERINE® Kids strengthens teeth 99% better than brushing alone
  • — Provides 12 Hour Cavity Protection
  • Teeth retain 2.4x more fluoride with LISTERINE® SMART RINSE vs. Act Kids
  • — You can find fun colors and characters your kids will love in Listerine Smart Rinse® Frozen®  and Listerine Smart Rinse®  Avengers®


About Amy @ Oh So Savvy Mom

Amy is mom to three, wife to one, and a sister and aunt to many. Her family is a former military family now settled in Lehi, Utah. Oh So Savvy Mom began as a way for Amy to share parenting and product advice with others. Just as she has evolved, Oh So Savvy Mom has evolved into a resource for Healthy Living for Families, Food, Parenting, and Family Travel.


  1. I didn't know that juice was supposed to be so bad for your teeth. It is probably is good to know that early, so you aren't offering them a ton of juice all the time. The milk was probably really good though, it's usually highly suggested by dentists for it's calcium.