Swish, swash and spit

Sherri Gardner HowellBlount, Farragut, Kitchen Table Talk

Our annual Girls’ Trip to the beach – scheduled for a year – looked in doubt as I continued to try to recover from broken hand and nose bones and a bruised rib that is the major source of my pain.


I finally decided I could heal as well or perhaps even better with an ocean view. The purpose of the trip is to relax, right? So, I relax in-between bouts of pain!

Lounging around does lead to some random thoughts, however. When my husband asked what I was writing about this week, and I answered “mouthwash,” he checked the bottle of pain meds to see just how far gone I was.

But I have always had a love/hate relationship with mouthwash and a recent new discovery is encouraging! Here’s the deal: I love using mouthwash but absolutely hate the taste. Believe me, I have tried them all, and there is not a single one that doesn’t make me gag while using it.

So why use it? Isn’t brushing my teeth enough? Well, you can blame one of my fourth-grade friends from elementary school – who shall remain nameless because we are still friends and on Facebook. He messed with my psyche when he pushed me away on the playground, declaring, “Your breath smells like rotten eggs.”

So, I suffer through the taste of mint, which I don’t like, and what I can only describe as antiseptic.

I was excited when my grandson King introduced me to kid-friendly mouthwash, and I have now been using Act Kids mouthwash, when I can find it, with watermelon or pineapple or bubblegum flavors. It tastes super sweet to me, but better than the alternative.

Enter, of all brands, Listerine, the one mouthwash I hated the most. Right there on the shelf – as I searched for travel-size toothpaste – were four new adult Listerine flavors: Lime and Coconut, Ginger and Lime, Grapefruit Rose, and Green Tea and Mint. I grabbed three of the four (no mint) and looked forward to my morning rinse.

In truth, the two I have tried only get a “B” for taste. They still have a hint of that signature Listerine after-taste.

But hey, it’s the best I’ve found so far! Hooray for no sweet bubblegum and no antiseptic.

Thanks for listening. Time for a pain pill…

Sherri Gardner Howell has been writing about family life for newspapers and magazines since 1987. She lives in West Knoxville, is married to Neville Howell and has two sons and three grandsons. Her newest adventure is as a travel agent with her own company, SGH Go Travel. Email her at sghgotravel@gmail.com.

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