When preparing our son Isaac for bed, it can sometimes be challenging to have him brush his teeth.
His younger brother Hugh is much easier to convince. After all, when trying to change a one-year-old’s diaper, I’ve learned the best thing to do to keep him still is to offer a distraction, and a toothbrush to chew on does just the trick for when I’m getting Hugh ready to sleep.
For Isaac, however, there’s something about a bristled stick jabbed in his mouth that he just doesn’t like. Go figure!
Thankfully, our dentist is a natural when it comes to persuading young kids to brush their teeth.
At his first appointment, the good doctor told Isaac about some “sugar bugs” that were living in his mouth. In order to make them disappear, we’d have to brush them away.
In the weeks since that appointment, Isaac has loved his nightly routine of getting rid of the dreaded sugar bugs. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that he has a softer brush with one of his favorite cartoon characters on it, or that his toothpaste is really flavorful.
Just the same, brushing his teeth has proven to be both beneficial and enjoyable (like anything else in life should be, really).
If you think about it, teeth brushing and God are a lot alike.
As any reliable dentist would attest, brushing one’s teeth regularly helps remove bacteria that form in the mouth, eliminating plaque and avoiding tartar build-up. Similarly, having God in our lives strengthens us in our daily battle against Satan and his attempts to contaminate us with germs through the allure of sin.
The more we brush, the more we combat plaque and tartar. The more we turn towards God, the stronger we become in fighting the devil’s temptation to turn away from Him. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Brushing regularly also guards tooth enamel from breaking down, acting as a deterrent to tooth decay. Holding God central in our lives helps us maintain a clear mind so we can make prudent decisions in order to keep our bodies healthy.
Properly taking care of our teeth has further been proven to defend our gums against recession and gingivitis. For His part, God nourishes our soul, steering us on a path to Heaven and away from hell. (2 Thessalonians 3:3)
Furthermore, as we are all reminded by dental advertisements, a proven toothpaste is also key in practicing oral hygiene and preventing cavities. By the same token, celebrating as part of a community of fellowship can certainly bolster one’s faith in God and provide desired support for our life challenges.
You could say brushing your teeth without toothpaste is equivalent to believing in God without going to church. Sure, you are doing some good, but just consider all the advantages you are missing out on and the pitfalls you can escape in the long run.
So, something as routine yet important as brushing our teeth can reinforce how critical and beneficial it is to have God as a focal part of our lives.
And with God close to us, He will always grant us protection from harm and defend us from Satan and his evil ways. (Psalm 140:4)
God ensures this through many means, including sending saints to guide us upon request, as evidenced by St. Michael the Archangel.
But where do prayers for the intercession of St. Michael fit in with teeth brushing?
Well, just as it never hurts to call on the help of God’s trusty aide in our daily living, we can always try to get rid of those leftover sugar bugs stuck between our teeth with a little dental floss.