My ex-husband doesn’t make our kids brush their teeth.

Recently I asked me ex-husband if he could make sure that when the kids are with him to be sure they brush their teeth twice a day. They come to me and have not brushed, and often say, “Daddy doesn’t make us do that!”  I sent him an email explaining why this was important and could he be sure to do it. His response was…”Sounds good.”

Like I need any more reminders about why I dumped his ass. What can I do about this? How can I get him to brush my kids’ teeth?

Much like paying the mortgage on time, wearing underpants to Jazzercise class, and calling your mother at least once a week, dental hygiene is not something I consider optional. Your ex-husband obviously has other things on his mind, like being mad at you for leaving him, and therefore can’t take the few precious minutes it takes each day to brush your children’s’ teeth.

He obviously doesn’t give a shit if his offspring have moss growing on their teeth, but as I’m sure you know, when the kids are with him, they’re with him. There’s nothing you can do or say that’s not going to make him feel defensive and criticized; and there’s nothing you can do or say to make sure that he’s making them brush. I’m sure that after he got your email he spent several long minutes wandering around the house muttering to himself about you and your perfect teeth and your perfect life and your non-cavity-filled face and how he wants to shake his finger right in it and loudly yell, “DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL!”

Since your kids are old enough to let you know that their father doesn’t make them brush, in theory, they’re old enough to brush their teeth themselves. Just do your best to get them into the habit of brushing automatically when they wake up–I’m a big fan of bribes–and as time goes on, I’m sure they’ll start to realize that not brushing is gross, brushing is awesome, and they’ll want to do it whether their father makes them or not.


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