Why won't my children brush their teeth?
I use the term "children", but we are talking teenagers here. While they certainly aren't adults by any stretch, they really aren't children either. What they are though is old enough to know better.
Not to toot my own mothering horn here (because God knows I don't deserve it!), but in the aspect of oral hygiene, I was NOT the one who fell down on the job.
They both started at the dentist at the recommended 3 years old....hell, I actually had them there at 2 so they could get used to the chair, lights, etc and have their teeth "counted" so they wouldn't be afraid to have them cleaned. It worked too. They LOVE their dentist. I take them to a pediatric dentist with slides, fish tanks, video game machines, prizes, flat screen TV's in the ceiling for them to watch, ( I am NOT making this up) and they love every minute of it. They call the sweet lady at the desk Gramma and she knows their names!
They have had every toothbrush know to man...spinning brushes, princess brushes, Bob the Builder brushes, brushes with fat handles for tiny hands, brushes that play 2 minutes of music so they know how long to brush. And timers of all sorts to get in the requisite 2 minutes. They had bubble fruit toothpaste, Spongebob toothpaste, Colgate, Crest and every damn other kind. Pills to see where you missed. Mint flavored rinse, blue rinse, fruit flavored rinse. We have enough floss to braid together a rope bridge to cross the Amazon River! And I personally brushed their teeth myself for YEARS.
Yet......here we are. I have one who brushes, but only because she has to wear a retainer and it grosses her out. She won't rinse or floss. The other one has to be caught in the act of not brushing. So now, with a 17 year old I am officially the Hallway Toothbrushing Monitor.
Their bathroom is right outside my bedroom door, so I sit and watch as they get ready for bed and at least 2 times a night say "Don't forget to brush your teeth" which is promptly greeted with much eye rolling and an exasperated "I KNOW Mom". Still, most nights it will involve at least one trip down the hall for me to guilt the offender into coming back to the bathroom and brushing.
In the morning as they come downstairs they are greeted with "Did you brush your teeth?" Which has led to many discussions on why I feel it's OK to brush before breakfast instead of waiting until after eating, all of which boil down to the simple fact that I don't trust him to go back up and do it! It is like some sort of mexican standoff going on here and I am at a total loss as to WHY??
Don't you want to have clean teeth? Fresh breath? At the very least, isn't it a gross, slimy, nasty feeling to not brush? Thing 1 actually has to go to the dentist every 3 months instead of every 6 because he has "gum issues". Go figure. Every single time they tell me I should probably get him a water pic toothbrushing system because they work "much better on people who have problem teeth". Thing 2 is working on getting there with her total avoidance of flossing. I refuse simply because the last thing I need to do is go spend $65 on something thats going to sit in the bathroom and collect dust next to all the Reach flossers and rinses. All that needs to happen is some good, old fashioned brushing. Period. So I just spend my life monitoring their teeth.
You can tell this irritates them because the toothpaste is spit with such force that the bottom half of the mirror is covered in it.
I suspect it won't be long after they leave home before they start to look like this...
It's Mom's fault.