Did you brush your nasty fangs?

September 8, 2008

8:00 pm- I have just successfully completed the teeth brushing regimen that I must proxy every evening.  It includes several minutes of brushing the teeth utilizing the correct side-to-side, swirly, whoopty-do motion that every person has been taught at the dentist office but never uses once they leave that dreadful chamber of horrors. I’ve got news for you- we actually use that method. In our home, we believe that by utilizing proper brushing techniques we can reduce the chances of our children resorting to a life of crime. It may seem irrational, but it makes as much sense as any other parenting advice that I’ve read.  After several minutes of brushing, I move on to flossing. 

This is the part that I hate the most.  First of all, my hands are really large. I somehow managed to inherit my father’s bratwurst-sized fingers; they’re extremely attractive and make it oh-so-simple to floss the teeth of young children. Luckily, Cayden has the mouth of a Jim Henson Muppet and can flop his “pie-hole” open wide enough for me to use both of my hands if needed. Mack, on the other hand, can only open his mouth about a 1/4 inch when flossing operations are in progress. I find this strange because, like Cayden, I know he is capable of unhinging his lower jaw and swallowing prey nearly twice his size. But when I come at him with a thin piece of twine, his gapping maw transforms into a hole the size of the key slot on your kid sister’s diary. By the way, when flossing your kids, have a towel handy as dental floss triggers their saliva glands. By the end of the evolution, I am soaking wet to the elbows and, believe me, I love my kids, but nothing is more disgusting than a saliva trail from your kid’s mouth down the length of your arm.

Flossing operations are complete once all of the evening’s meal is dislodged from between their teeth. This is a prime opportunity to explain to your kids how important it is to chew your food a minimum of 9 zillion times before swallowing (sort of like the dentist endorsed brushing technique- we know it’s the right thing to do but no one does it). When explaining this important facet of responsible consumption, hold up one of the domino-sized nuggets that you pried from between your kid’s bicuspids- this is an awesome media aid when talking proper chewing technique. If they roll their eyes at you, threaten to put it in their lunchbox for school the next day. That always gets my kid’s attention.

So you would think that the routine is over, but not even close, in our home you take care of your damn teeth. On to the next phase: “The Swish”. After flossing is complete I break out a giant-sized bottle of cinnamon flavored PLAX. Quick question- why would a reputable company dedicated to the cause of good dental hygiene engineer a fluoride rinse that tastes like the sugary goodness that sends kids to the dentist in the first place? Why would a father with a fully functioning brain purchase said item and make his kids rinse with it every night?  Some questions in the universe are better left unanswered.  The swish normally goes pretty smoothly. Believe it or not, my kids will swish for a solid 60 seconds. The only down side to dental rinse is that they have not mastered the ability to spit the swish back into the sink in a gentlemanly manner. Both of my kids feel the need to power wash the sink basin with their cinnamon flavored PLAX.  Normally this means that the PLAX leaves their pursed lips with the equivalent pressure of a fully functioning fire hose.

Almost there…

Quick recap: I have brushed their teeth (American Dental Association approved stroking technique), I have flossed, and I have rinsed their mouths with a fluoride rinse.  We are so close to completion, just one more step.  We have a well so the water is less than stellar and does not contain fluoride like public water. As a substitute, we give our children delicious-tasting fluoride pills.  You mustn’t forget this step. This is the indicator that you’re almost home, the end zone victory dance that signals another successful day of parenting.  My kids like the pills so this step is easy, and sometimes easy is extremely rewarding, so take it when you can. 







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