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Hot Pink Stained Stuff and Other Thoughts After Listerine’s Sweet Smart Challenge #SweetSmart

The Listerine Sweet Smart Challenge is over.

I kept a diary during the challenge so I could share my thoughts with you. Here are some of those:

Day 0Listerine Sweet Smart Challenge

Okay, so I jumped the gun and started the night before Day 1. I was excited. I brushed and flossed like always and then prepared to rinse for sixty seconds.

I was simultaneously smug and skeptical about this rinsing business.

I brush with a fancy electronic toothbrush that tells me when to move to a new quadrant of my mouth, and I brush for 3 minutes before flossing with a floss pick. My teeth are clean.

So I slurped down the (kids) bubble gum flavored Smart Rinse Listerine sent me. I couldn’t do the adult version because it’s berry flavored and I’m allergic to strawberries.

I rinsed.

For 60 seconds.

Have you ever tried to vigorously swish for 60 seconds?

Try it. Tonight.

It’s hard, friend. Really hard.

For the first 20 seconds, it’s fine. Swish swish swish.

By 30 seconds, I was getting bored, and my cheeks were starting to ache.

I gave up at 40 seconds.

I’m going to have to work up to this 60 seconds business in 5-second increments. Tomorrow, my goal will be 45 seconds.

I recognize the ridiculousness of that statement, thank you very much. I’m being totally transparent here.

As soon as I spit into the sink, I gasped.


Joe asked what was wrong.

“JOE! Look at the stuff that came out of my clean mouth!” The two of us stood there, peering into the hot pink stained stuff that dotted the sink.

How can there be so much stuff left in there after I’ve brushed and flossed?! I don’t get it.

Joe did rinsed, and he spit out even more hot pink stained stuff that I did.

Day 2

Yesterday, I noticed that Grace’s gums were bleeding a little after we flossed, so I went looking for some more information.

Dr. Kaneta Lott, a pediatric dentist, says

Clean teeth do not bleed. If your children’s gums bleed, it means they are more than likely not clean. It takes five days of good brushing, flossing and rinsing to get clean teeth. The bleeding is a telltale sign to you that you aren’t cleaning your teeth well enough. We should not cut back; we should step up the process – not brush harder, but brush better, and floss, and use a rinse. Bleeding will diminish and go away.

We’ll see if that’s true or not in a few days.

Day 7 

With this new rinsing business added to my existing nighttime routine, it takes me longer to go to the bathroom, brush, floss, and rinse than it takes my husband to shower.

I know he doesn’t have any hair to wash, but I find this really strange.

Day 9

I am still surprised every day by the amount of hot pink stained particles in the sink after I spit. I just don’t get it. Some days, there’s more stuff and some days there’s less, but there’s always more than I think there should be.

Seriously, you have to see it to believe it.

Day 12

Either Grace is a better brusher than me (not likely since I am doing the brushing on her behalf) or she isn’t as good a rinser as me (probably) because she doesn’t spit out nearly as many particles as me even though she can swish longer than I can.

Day 20

So apparently, brushing, flossing, and rinsing has become old hat because I haven’t written about it for over a week. It’s going well. It takes forever, but my teeth have never felt cleaner or less grungy.

After the Challenge

I’m glad we participated in the Listerine Sweet Smart Challenge. It’s helped us to beef up our dental habits in advance of the assault of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

© 2012 – 2018, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.

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