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If they hear it at home, it has no crediblity

Submitted by on Friday, 4 February 2011 No Comment

Take your average mild-mannered mom wearing jeans and a T-shirt, stand her in her kitchen and have her talk to kids about the importance of dental hygiene. Chances are their eyes will glaze over like the sugary donuts that she just told them can cause bacteria to form in their mouths, and they’ll ask for candy at the end of her speech.

Take your average mild-mannered dental assistant wearing brightly colored scrubs, stand her in front of a kindergarten class and have her talk about the dangers of plaque. The kids will run home to use the new toothbrush she just handed out, and they’ll skip the candy.

This time, though, mild-mannered mom and mild-mannered dental assistant were played by the same person. When she was cast last week as Boots’ friend A’s parent, it was as if he had chunks of wax blocking both ears. When she came to his class this week in a professional capacity, he was riveted and horrified.

“I have to brush more,” Boots said. “And floss, too. Do you know that you have to brush your tongue so you won’t get the plaque?”

Why, yes I did. I seem to recall telling  you that for years. Demonstrating it even. You seemed determinedly disinterested, and brushing your teeth became a nightly battle of wills.

“I brushed, Mommy!” you’d say.

“Let me smell your breath.” A huff and a puff, but no minty-fresh scent. You’d try to grin your way through it until I asked, “Do I need to check and see if your brush is wet?” You’d finally give in and huff and puff back upstairs. I’d have to call you out again when you’d quit less than a minute later, grinning again. “That wasn’t long enough,” I’d say. “Give it another try.”

Somehow, miraculously, you emerged from all of that with what the dentist who was with A’s mom declared to be “sparkly white teeth.” I’m still not sure how that happened but, praise the Lord and pass the dental floss, I’m happy to hear that you’ve vowed to keep them that way.

And the next time I need to pass along important medical information, I’m going to first dig out an old pair of medical scrubs that I sometimes wear as pajamas. Perhaps the professional disguise will grab your attention. I doubt it, though. It still probably won’t sink in until someone tells you at school.

Copyright 2011 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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