The CutenessAt what point does a new habit stick and become routine? Google it and you’ll get a variety of answers and maybe some helpful hints. Last month my family agreed to participate in the Listerine and Reach Healthy Habits for a Lifetime Oral Care Challenge, which involved brushing, flossing, and rinsing twice a day for three weeks.

The kids agreed to it or I wouldn’t have accepted the challenge. Flossing my own teeth is enough, thankyouverymuch. I expected to do a lot of nagging—the usual when it comes to brushing, much less flossing and rinsing, too—but I haven’t needed to.

Listerine Total CareI ask the kids all the time if they’ve “done their teeth,” or whatever I happen to call the three-step process, and the answer is a surprising “yes” almost all of the time. Occasionally I get an “Oops! I forgot” or even a “Sorry!” and then the child heads for the bathroom.

I have noticed that they’re becoming rinse hoarders. My fifteen-year-old told me that she’s rationing her rinse and needs her own personal bottle. I considered rolling my eyes, but then I remembered the bottle of Listerine Total Care Zero placed back out of reach on my bathroom counter and I understood.

Arrrrrrgh!The kids aren’t the only ones whose habits have improved. I’ve always been an evening flosser, not morning, however now I’m in the habit of doing both.

The last day of the three weeks quietly passed last week; we’re actually well into week five at this point. I’m certainly not going to point out that we’ve fulfilled the agreed upon time limit of the challenge. This has been a wonderful thing for my family. I think the most important things I’ve learned are the importance of rinsing—brushing misses 75% of the germs in your mouth, but rinses reach 100%—and the process of establishing a habit. In this case the three-week challenge has been very effective.

What has been your experience when trying to establish good habits in your children and yourself? Could your family benefit from the Oral Care Challenge?

Disclosure: I received products and compensation from Johnson & Johnson and The Motherhood as part of my participation in the Oral Care Challenge. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

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