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Tales from the Tooth: Pretty Little (Toothbrushing) Liars

Addie's full set of baby teethI used to lie about brushing my teeth as a kid, and I’m not sure why. I can remember being busted by my mom who asked if I had brushed my teeth before bed and as soon as I said yes she held up my perfectly dry toothbrush.

Mom: 1 Me: 0.

I tucked away that little trick and have used it on Addie more than once, only I’m not as obvious in how I come to the conclusion that Addie hasn’t brushed. Addie is sneaky, and if she knew my methods? She’d just get her toothbrush wet to throw me off. (Because that’s exactly what I did.)

Why do kids lie about brushing their teeth? At first I was worried that my kid was in the minority of brushing fibbers, but when I asked my friends if their kids lie about brushing their teeth too, I learned I’m not the only one who has a flossing fibber.


Every night (or so it seems) – we do a breath check and we bought a toothbrush with a timer when we discovered that “someone” was just brushing their tongue. -Katie

I have to do breath checks too, and it never fails to smell like the breath of a decomposing dragon. -Nichole

I think it’s a human tendency to lie about this. I have no idea why, but it appears to be universal! -Michelle

My husband is a dentist, they know they’re going to get caught, they do it anyway. -Chrysta

Mine do. Or they brush just the front teeth for like 3 seconds. -Angie

My kids have had to brush their teeth in front of us for the past ten months because they would get a tiny bit of toothpaste on their tongue to lie their way through the breath test. Grrrr….. -Ami

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Most parents seem to rely on a breath check. I still have horrible memories of my mom blowing in my face after every new toothpaste she tried to see if she could rid herself of coffee breath, so asking a known toothbrush liar to blow in my face? It’s not going to happen. Besides, I knew how to get out of the breath check, just put some toothpaste and mouthwash in your mouth and swish. (Honestly!? Why did I go to such trouble to LIE about brushing my teeth?) We do something called a sweater check, that is, I check her teeth before and after to be sure she got all the “sweaters” off her teeth (you know, the fuzzy crap that makes them feel gross?) Addie has also had to move her toothbrush downstairs so we can watch her process of oral care.

IT’S FOUR MINUTES A DAY. How is that such an inconvenience? Is it a power struggle thing? Does my child not enjoy a fresh clean set of chompers? WHERE HAVE I GONE WRONG?

I take comfort in the fact that even though I spent a majority of my youth creating elaborate excuses to get out of brushing my teeth, I’ve made it to 30 without a single cavity. *fanfare*

Are your kids guilty of lying about brushing their teeth?

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A big thanks to Listerine Kids for sponsoring this campaign. Click here to see more of the discussion

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