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My boyfriend doesn't brush his teeth at night. I think it's gross.
August 22, 2012 11:51 AM   Subscribe

My boyfriend doesn't brush his teeth at night. I think it's gross.

My boyfriend and I have been dating for a year and a half. We're both mid-twenties, American, and live in an East Coast city.

I found out the other night that he doesn't brush his teeth at night, and it very much bothers me. I would like him to brush his teeth at night.

I have always thought he had horrible morning breath, worse than most people. I had never said anything because, you know, it's one of those things that you can overlook in people. I thought he didn't have control over it, and I generally try to suck it up.

Now I know it's because he has a ton of bacteria that have built up in his mouth all night. He says he brushes his teeth "extra long" in the mornings. I am no paragon of oral health, but I do brush my teeth at least twice a day, and floss most nights a week. I don't feel okay in the morning until I have brushed my teeth, and as a courtesy brush immediately in the morning. But he doesn't, and I often end up trying to avoid his mouth in the morning due to morning breath. I've never told him for fear of embarrassing him.

And yeah, I also have OCD, which means that now that I know he doesn't brush his teeth at night, it is really, really, really bothering me in terms of things from his mouth getting into my mouth. (My OCD does not focus on cleanliness or anything dental, but I do have a problem with the idea of "bugs" on or around me.) I recognize that I shouldn't involve him in those obsessions, but I'm also not sure that I can kiss him in the morning anymore. I recently started treatment and meds, so no need to tell me to get help.

Can I get my boyfriend to brush his teeth at night? I don't want to shame him or anything, but I think it's gross and I don't want to kiss him if he's not brushing his teeth (until he has brushed his teeth). Ughhhhhh.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (50 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
"Good morning! I love you. I am not kissing you until you brush your teeth."

Be straight forward. Even jokingly if you can. Smile, kiss his forehead, or direct his kisses to your cheek.
posted by royalsong at 11:58 AM on August 22, 2012 [9 favorites]


You'be been dating for 18 months. If you are not comfortable enough with him to tell him something like he has bad morning breath and it's a problem for you, then frankly I think you have much larger problems in your relationship. Just have an honest talk with him.
posted by brainmouse at 11:58 AM on August 22, 2012 [17 favorites]


If you have that kind of relationship, you can come out and ask him. Say it's because you're OCD, and it bugs you. My wife and I have definitely acquiesced on many things (toilet paper type, laundry preferences), although generally nothing like brushing teeth at night.

That being said (and maybe this is my great shame, among many), I don't consistently do it, and my wife does. She'd probably prefer if I did it, and she comments on how much she loves my minty fresh breath and night, so I'm more likely to brush. I know she's probably trying to use positive reinforcement to get me to do it, and I'm OK with it.

If he's comfortable with your compulsions (and you two have been dating long enough that that's probably true), just ask him to do so. It can't hurt to ask (and if it does, that's another question).
posted by SNWidget at 12:00 PM on August 22, 2012


It is gross and he should brush his damn teeth at night. Tell him I said so. That's all night those little bastard bacteria are gnawing away at his pearly whites, makin' holes and stinking up the joint. Brushing extra long in the morning means jack shit, because by he time he gets up the damage is already done.

There is nothing wrong with you not wanting to kiss a mouth that hasn't brushed its teeth in 24 hours. Don't feel bad about not wanting to kiss him or whatever until he's brushed his teeth. That doesn't mean there's something wrong with you, just that you don't want to kiss a mouth that probably smells like a dog took a shit in it the night before. I feel the same way, so does my partner of over a decade.
posted by Sternmeyer at 12:00 PM on August 22, 2012 [41 favorites]


well, yuck. He can't make up for the bacteria sleepover party in his gums by brushing "extra long" in the mornings. That's pretty gross, and would be A Thing for me, too.

I don't think you can somehow mommy him into brushing his teeth at night, but I think it's fine to not kiss him until his mouth is acceptably kissable to you, morning or night, and maybe he'll come around to the idea that that means he needs to brush his teeth.
posted by peachfuzz at 12:00 PM on August 22, 2012


I would be very surprised if brushing one's teeth at night did much in any way to decrease the probability of passing any kind of bacterial infection to another person. It is certainly not the best possible dental hygiene, but so far as I can tell that's an issue that will only affect him--not something that will cause you to get infected by him if you kiss him in the morning (IANAD, so I will be happy to be corrected on this point).

In any event, I think you should probably not frame this to him as "you are doing this disgusting thing which disgusts me" but "would you please do this thing for me as a favor because it gives me wholly irrational but unavoidable wiggins." Keep it light, non-blamey and playful and why wouldn't he be happy to do this to oblige you?
posted by yoink at 12:01 PM on August 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


What you need, Anon, is "Safe Word!" "Safe Word!" is a concept my boyfriend and I - both terribly sensitive, self-conscious people - have been using for YEARS when we need to tell one another about something potentially-embarrassing like this. Here's how it works.

- You have a discussion wherein you both agree that if Person A does something that annoys/upsets/disturbs Person B (or vice versa), Person B can bring it up AT ANY TIME, without fear of provoking an emotional meltdown, by prefacing their concerns with "Safe Word". When you begin a statement with "Safe Word", it's a shorthand way of saying, "Dude, you're awesome, you're great, I have no problems with you in general, but I DO have a specific concern that you need to address, so please don't get upset with me, okay?"

- You notice something awful/embarrassing/annoying about your partner.

- Rather than hemming and hawing and dropping hints, you say "SAFE WORD: you don't brush your teeth and it grosses me out" (or whatever objectionable behavior it may be).

- Your boyfriend does what you ask and everyone is happy and minty-fresh.
posted by julthumbscrew at 12:01 PM on August 22, 2012 [30 favorites]


He is being gross about normal personal hygiene and you are not wrong to be repulsed.
posted by elizardbits at 12:01 PM on August 22, 2012 [20 favorites]


Anecdata but it may give you some ammunition. My brother-in-law didn't regularly brush his teeth for years. He ended up having to get multiple cavities filled and multiple root canals. This cost him and my sister several thousand dollars to treat even going to a dental college with discounted pricing.

Tell your boyfriend not to end up like my brother-in-law.
posted by ephemerista at 12:02 PM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, and be aware that the morning breath may very possibly have nothing whatsoever to do with the brushing/not brushing. I know people (in my family, as it happens) who are rigorous on the oral hygiene front and suffer from "oh my God, what died?" breath problems. There may very well be other issues at work there that he might want to look into.
posted by yoink at 12:03 PM on August 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Send him to the dentist. They will tell him that the evening session is much, much more important, basically for the reasons that Sternmeyer raises above. I mean, twice a day is better, but if you're going to go with just one, it needs to be the evening one - the difference is that big.

Of course you can still encourage him to brush in the morning for all the usual / obvious reasons.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 12:05 PM on August 22, 2012


Yeah, I think it is perfectly okay for you to tell him to brush his teeth or to refuse to kiss him until he brushes. If I have bad breath, my wife will tell me so. She's probably the only person in the world who can do so without causing me some embarrassment.
posted by Area Man at 12:05 PM on August 22, 2012


My boyfriend doesn't brush his teeth at night. I think it's gross.


Tell him "brush your teeth at night. I think it's gross if you don't."
posted by Namlit at 12:06 PM on August 22, 2012 [9 favorites]


Say it's because you're OCD, and it bugs you.

Don't do that. There is nothing OCD about wanting your partner to brush his teeth before he goes to bed with you. Just tell him you want him to start brushing his teeth at night. It's a reasonable request. You don't have to justify it.
posted by headnsouth at 12:10 PM on August 22, 2012 [7 favorites]


I had this problem. My partner would remind me until I started doing it by myself nightly. I have a whole hygiene *thing* as part of a mental health issue, and my therapist just told her to keep riding me about it (nicely, of course.) And she did and it worked, for the most part.

Whether or not this works depends on your dynamic. It worked for me because I *knew* it was gross and just needed a kick in the ass to get it done. But it is definitely a normal request, fixable (as long as he wants to fix it,) and nothing to do with your OCD at all.

It might be as easy as "look, brushing your teeth at night makes things more pleasant for me" just because you can assume he knows he's shirking.
posted by A god with hooves, a god with horns at 12:13 PM on August 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


Don't do that. There is nothing OCD about wanting your partner to brush his teeth before he goes to bed with you. Just tell him you want him to start brushing his teeth at night. It's a reasonable request. You don't have to justify it.

You may be right. My train of thought wasn't that the request was reasonable or unreasonable; it was just something that the OP wants him to do. The OP said that they have thoughts of "things" crawling in and out of his mouth.

I probably misspoke, but my take on this was that this is one of those things you ask your SO to do because you'd prefer it that way. I didn't realize until much later through this thread that brushing at night was so sacrosanct (no sarcasm, it's just not one of those things that I grew up with). If you believe that brushing at night is important, then the request seems less like a preference issue and more like a "I'd prefer it this way" issue.
posted by SNWidget at 12:18 PM on August 22, 2012


Ahhh, messed up my conclusion sentence.

"If you believe that brushing at night is important, it seems more like a practical, normal request and less like a "I'd prefer it this way" issue."
posted by SNWidget at 12:20 PM on August 22, 2012


Perhaps you should ask him to ask his dentist what he should do, and your bf would trust your dentist and follow his/her instructions.
posted by deanc at 12:20 PM on August 22, 2012


You're worried that this is just bugging you because of your OCD, but people generally prefer to kiss people with clean mouths that smell nice.

Of course it's bothering you now, you accepted it when you thought he couldn't do anything about it, but now that you know you would like him to have a clean mouth that smells nice in the morning so you can kiss him when he wakes up.

Your boyfriend needs to have someone explain that it's much nicer to wake up next to, and kiss someone, who has a clean smelling mouth.
posted by yohko at 12:20 PM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I used to be all careful about embarrassing things and worrying about hurting the SO's feelings and all that...and then I grew up a bit and got over myself. When my boyfriend smells like armpit, I will tell him: you smell like armpit. When I need to poop, I say see ya, grab my ipad, and head for the bathroom. When there's some thing that is putting me off in some way, I will say: hey, you have thing. (Whether or not he cares enough to fix it is entirely up to him, as is my desire spend time near him.)

This has made my life heaps easier.
posted by phunniemee at 12:25 PM on August 22, 2012 [21 favorites]


I'd go with something like: "Honey, I feel awkward saying this, but I'd really appreciate it if you brushed your teeth twice a day, not once. We'd kiss more." Not making it a huge, shameful deal, but also not acting like it's some weird personal preference of yours--and making it plain that it'd be an overall improvement for both of your lives.
posted by Meg_Murry at 12:26 PM on August 22, 2012


[If you have issues with MetaFilter in general you need to take that to MeTa here, not start a fight with other people in the thread, thanks.]
posted by jessamyn at 12:30 PM on August 22, 2012


Yes, agreed that this is enormously gross. It should be as simple as saying "you smell grody, brush your teeth". However, also be prepared for possible pushback, as it sounds like he thinks he's doing a good enough job with his teeth. I'm not sure what to suggest if you hit that particular loggerhead; if anyone else has suggestions to get past it, I'd be all ears.
posted by LN at 12:35 PM on August 22, 2012


Another point of anecdatum: up until recently, I didn't brush my teeth at night, like, ever. I have never had a cavity. Lucky? Probably. But night tooth brushing is not the be-all end-all of oral hygiene.

However, my nightly-brushing boyfriend had the worse morning breath between the two of us, despite his obviously-superior brushing regime and the culprit was actually that he wasn't a terribly frequent flosser (which I tend to do somewhat regularly, if not as often as my dentist would like!), so I would suggest that flossing goes a long(er?) way to combatting night-time mouth rot too.
posted by urbanlenny at 12:36 PM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Now I know it's because he has a ton of bacteria that have built up in his mouth all night.

This isn't necessarily true; I actually have bad breath when I brush the night before. Not exactly sure why. Also, some people will have bad breath in the morning no matter how much they brush their teeth.

And yeah, I also have OCD, which means that now that I know he doesn't brush his teeth at night, it is really, really, really bothering me in terms of things from his mouth getting into my mouth

I think you're getting some bad advice in this thread, because this part is very much your problem. You ultimately have to manage your OCD.

I'm also not sure that I can kiss him in the morning anymore.

Then don't, and tell him it's because of his breath if he asks. What exactly he does to correct this is ultimately up to him.
posted by spaltavian at 12:36 PM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


(I should add that I was sleeping alone when I was not a nightly tooth brusher, so no one was around to tell me whether my morning breath was terrible. My cat never seemed to mind, but her breath smells like cat food, so)
posted by urbanlenny at 12:37 PM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


My first sentence should read: This isn't necessarily true; I actually have worse breath when I brush the night before.
posted by spaltavian at 12:38 PM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you two haven't already discussed why he doesn't brush his teeth at night, then ask him. Yes, it might embarrass him, but it's normal to have awkward things happen in relationships especially when you are so close in terms of geographical and emotional distance.

Perhaps you two can make this a nightly ritual that you both do together. Use an iPod dock or your iPod speakers to listen to music while brushing your teeth. Create a no snacks or no drinks after a certain time rule. That way, he can brush his teeth and wash his face before going to bed and before he gets too tired. You can also encourage him by doing the same thing together.

Hopefully, him brushing his teeth before bed will improve the morning breath situation, that way you don't have to address that. But, if you notice that there's still a problem or that he's not making an effort then you can tell him that you would prefer to kiss after he brushes his teeth.

You also mentioned your OCD and that's definitely worth acknowledging in your relationship. A relationship means looking out for yourself, but doing the best to ensure that the other one is okay. In other words, making compromises for the other person's sake.

He needs to sacrifice laziness and a habit that I'm assuming has been going on for years now because of your mental health and his physical health.
posted by livinglearning at 12:43 PM on August 22, 2012


You're probably going to have to mention this multiple times, as a "strong personal preference" kind of thing. People who don't brush their teeth at night are (obviously) not in the habit, and remembering to do so can be a challenge since tooth-brushing is a habit most of us developed as small children. If he's willing to make an effort, he might need help remembering.
posted by Cygnet at 1:03 PM on August 22, 2012


Cavity bacteria is contagious. Here's a random article.
posted by aniola at 1:11 PM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh dear god, I think I would cry if I found out my husband did this. In fact, he's recently started flossing nightly and it's really making me guilty that I don't do the same thing.

As a couple, it's normal to want to "agree" to a certain level of hygiene. It doesn't have to be the same for each of you, and it's not necessarily something you implicitly agree on, but it's a part of any normal healthy relationship. If one person is not caring for themselves in a way that is pretty much known to be correct, suggested, or even common sense, it can be unsettling!

If this relationship is one you think will last a while (or forever!), couch this in terms of the future. Morning breath doesn't matter; clearly people have it worse than others regardless of how often they brush, as other factors definitely go into that (flossing, dry mouth, sinus issues, etc). However, his health is important to you, and not brushing your teeth twice daily for three minutes each time can cause gingivitis or even periodontal disease. This can be expensive to fix, and many people don't have dental plans that 100% covers the heavy duty work needed to fix such problems. Common sense: three minutes a night can save thousands of dollars and many head aches (literally and figuratively) down the road.

Another route would be to email him a video about brushing your teeth every night. Annoying and immature, yes. FUN? Definitely.

Brush Your Teeth
BRUSH BRUSH BRUSH YOUR TEETH
Sad Tooth & Happy Tooth

Notice how they get worse.
posted by two lights above the sea at 1:13 PM on August 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Show him this thread.

Also, I was going to suggest what livinglearning said- use it as an opportunity to create a nighttime ritual you do together.
posted by mkultra at 1:15 PM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tell him about the bad breath, but also tell him you're concerned -- some very bad breath is caused by gum disease. Ask if he notices any traces of blood when he spits out the toothpaste. Are his gums a lovely light pink, or are they leaning toward red? Pink is usually healthy, red usually isn't. If he has gingivitis, brushing isn't going to make it go away -- it calls for deep cleaning by a dentist (or endodontist) and antibacterial mouthwash. Flossing can really help, but someone who's not into dental hygiene might take a while to develop the habit.
posted by wryly at 1:17 PM on August 22, 2012


Looks like some people already told you to hold back the kisses until he brushes. I'm saying it again because it's great advice and it's what worked for me.
posted by theichibun at 1:19 PM on August 22, 2012


How does he feel about electric toothbrushes? I hate brushing my teeth, but having a Sonicare has made it much easier to endure. Here is an upside to an electric toothbrush: Even if he half-assedly wipes it across his teeth with a little toothpaste, it'll do a better job than a regular toothbrush. So his lack of enthusiasm can be compensated for, a little bit.

And what about mouthwash? Would be adverse to giving a good, gentle mouthwash the old swish before bedtime? It's not a perfect solution, but better than what you're living with. Baby steps, remove his tartar.

Also, I have pretty serious OCD, and I think framing this as an OCD issue is a path you don't want to do down. Yours is a reasonable request; don't make it sound like that your legitimate feelings are a symptom of an irrational mental illness. You really don't want to get into the habit of using your OCD as leverage in relationship conflicts. Besides that it's manipulative and dishonest, it can also be turned on you - "Why do I have to listen to you when this is probably just your irrational OCD talking?"
posted by Coatlicue at 1:24 PM on August 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


Please don't do something passive-aggressive like sending him to a dentist. I'd be pretty pissed if my partner did something like that as an extremely roundabout way of suggesting that I have bad morning breath.

Also, different people have different standards for what's "gross." Don't get into that argument; nothing good will come out of it. You find it gross, he might not, and really, it's not necessary to convince him otherwise. There are other reasons for him to brush his teeth, but the important one here is that you think his breath smells bad in the morning.

In my experience, it's pretty difficult to change a person's perception of what's gross, and what isn't. I really wouldn't try it, and I also wouldn't want to deliberately manipulate the views and opinions of my romantic partner, even if I disagreed with them.

Simply ask him to brush his teeth at night, because you don't like the smell in the morning, and leave it at that. Small concessions like this are totally okay in any long-term relationship. On the grand scale of things, this roughly falls on the level of not preparing food items that your partner dislikes.

There's no need to make a big deal out of this. Phrase it casually like "Would you mind brushing your teeth at night when we sleep together? It makes you smell better in the morning." That's it. Don't do anything more, unless he fails to heed this advice.

Don't show him this thread. Don't send him to a dentist. Don't show him medical literature (this is a relationship; not a debate). If he fails to comply, remind him again, or be a bit more assertive ("No, really. It smells pretty foul"), and maybe then start mentioning some of the potential health implications. Failing all that, you'll then want to think long and hard about whether or not this is a dealbreaker for your relationship, given that you're only asking for a really small (and totally reasonable) sacrifice on his part.
posted by schmod at 1:30 PM on August 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


Sometimes my husband doesn't brush his teeth at night because he is being lazy, and it wigs out my OCD tendencies too. Whenever it happens I kiss him and then say "WHOA haven't you brushed your teeth yet? Because I think you need to before you fall asleep, sir" coupled with a ridiculous face that screams ew-what-is-that-smell in a funny way. It always works.
posted by joan_holloway at 1:34 PM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


You find it gross, he might not, and really, it's not necessary to convince him otherwise.

I literally had this exact toothbrushing conversation with an internets friend last month. I told her it was gross, she asked specifically why, I told her that crusty teeth all night is bad for your teeth n gums, she said "wow I never thought about it like that, thanks" and now she brushes at night. My previous arguments of BUT EVERYONE ELSE DOES IT did not have the same effect as the grosssplanation.
posted by elizardbits at 1:35 PM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tell the hipster to brush his fucking teeth at night. Or else, laugh in glee when his teeth begin to rot later in life. All of the sugar, food bits, and bacteria that build up during the day have a chance to fester at night, when your mouth doesn't move all that much.. everything just SITS THERE, gnawing on your enamel. When you go to brush your teeth at night, make him do it with you like you're his mommy. Or if he absolutely must brush his teeth once a day, he should do it at night. The morning brush is really to get rid of night slime and bad breath and a further cleaning. But if he isn't brushing at night, his teeth will be ruined in a matter of years.
posted by ReeMonster at 2:25 PM on August 22, 2012


Yeah. I'm going to reiterate my non-judgmental approach here... If you can get him to improve his habits without shaming him, won't everybody be better off?
posted by schmod at 2:31 PM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


But if he isn't brushing at night, his teeth will be ruined in a matter of years.

As much as we might like to believe this is true, it's actually not true. This should be addressed first as a relationship etiquette question and not a fact-based "because it's worse for you" discussion because 1) this is mostly a relationship issue at the end of the day 2) it's entirely possible he may disagree or not care about your fact-based approach and decide to do something contrary to the facts for his own personal reasons.

I firmly agree with schmod, ask him nicely, explain why, be reasonable and decide how far along your personal "this is important" meter this goes. And mention it to your doc when you have checkups vis a vis your OCD. It's totally fine for partners to accommodate each other on things like this, but it's also worth doing a reality check with yourself when you have concerns like this that involve the consent of another person to make you feel comfortable. It's easy to tell yourself that this is purely a fact-based concern, but realistically it may not be and it's good for you to figure out where that line is.
posted by jessamyn at 2:32 PM on August 22, 2012 [15 favorites]


But if he isn't brushing at night, his teeth will be ruined in a matter of years.

Again, coming at it from this angle won't work. Since this is not true, he won't find any hyperbolic comments, especially from someone with OCD, very convincing. Tooth health has a lot to do with genetics and diet; some like can get away with sub-par dental care for three decades and have no cavities and great teeth. Others are compulsive about taking care of their teeth and have constant problems.

You're not going to get anywhere with an argument that his daily experience proves wrong. This is about the OP's preference, and if she's not honest about that, the boyfriend will tune out.

To sum up; don't state absolute "facts" like above that are not true, because he won't listen to anything after that.
posted by spaltavian at 3:54 PM on August 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've actually only had one boyfriend (of many) that brushed his teeth before they went to bed.
Never really woke up making out but it's happened- I usually say, "let's brush our teeth".
But then again, I dont have OCD. I would bring it up by saying it's bothering your OCD.
posted by KogeLiz at 4:27 PM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm a morning-only brusher, and haven't had a cavity since I was in my teens, so I don't see any particular reason to change, or why he should change. However, you get to decide who you kiss and when and why. And you also should be able to talk to your boyfriend about something so trivial without it turning into any kind of big deal.
posted by The Monkey at 9:14 PM on August 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


I learned the hard way to brush at least twice a day. My teeth went to hell about 10 years ago after years of not brushing regularly. Things are OK now after a lot of dental work and finally establishing the hard and fast rule of brushing before hitting the sack.

"Be true to your teeth or they will be false to you." - Soupy Sales
posted by rmmcclay at 3:11 AM on August 23, 2012


I suggest the direct approach, said sometime other than in bed morning or evening.

"Dear bf, your breath is really bad in the morning. Could you brush your teeth before bed so yesterday's food doesn't have an all-night party in your mouth?"
posted by zippy at 3:34 AM on August 23, 2012


Yeah, brushing twice a day is healthier.

But he's an adult, and it's his body. He can brush or not brush as he pleases.

His breath being too stinky for you to kiss is, within your relationship, a different problem entirely. If it's too stinky, you absolutely have the right to tell him "Aack! Morning breath! Let's brush!" and not kiss him until afterwards.

But also . . . morning breath is a part of life. It's easier for some people to ignore in the early days of a relationship, but it's unavoidable if you're going to live in close contact with another creature.
posted by MeiraV at 6:44 AM on August 23, 2012


Also, seconding what others have said here. One can brush and floss and gargle and still have bad breath soon after. So what you are experiencing in the morning is not necessarily a result of, nor guaranteed solved by, brushing at night.
posted by zippy at 11:08 AM on August 23, 2012


Why does he prefer brushing in the morning? Why does he not like to do it before bed? Would after dinner be easier? Seem like pretty simple questions to ask. There ought to be a way for the two of you to address this problem without having to put screamingly tingly, refreshingly awakening minty crap in his mouth immediately before attempting to drift off into a perhaps desperately needed slumber.
posted by serena15221 at 11:50 AM on August 23, 2012


At 18 months this shouldn't be that difficult to communicate. When he leans over to kiss you, say "Hey stinkybreath, go brush your teeth before you put your lips on mine." Then use lots of positive reinforcement. Kiss him immediately after he's done brushing and tell him (sincerely) how minty fresh he smells.

Don't agonize, don't make it complicated, don't preface it with a lot of "well this is awkward and I don't want to make you feel bad but..." It builds it up into A Big Deal when it's really not. I mean, it's important to you, yeah, but it doesn't need to be a dramatic scene.
posted by desjardins at 1:03 PM on August 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


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