Green, pink, teal, and light blue bottles of mouthwash.
Mouthwash is only recommended for children over the age of 6.

Recommended Health Regulations for Kids Using Mouthwash

Perhaps your children have expressed an interest in mouthwash. Or maybe you think it is a good idea for their oral health and hygiene. Mouthwash freshens your breath, prevents gingivitis, decreases plaque, and helps prevent tooth decay. But what else should you know about mouthwash for kids?

What is Mouthwash?

First off, mouthwash should never replace a proper toothbrush and flossing routine. Most dental experts recommend brushing and flossing at least twice a day.

Mouthwash, mouth rinse or oral rinse, is a liquid held and swished around in the mouth to primarily freshen the breath. Yet, severe bad breath should be something you bring up with your doctor.

Depending on the type of mouthwash, it can also help cleanse the mouth and teeth. For example, fluoride rinses effectively prevent build up plaque and may prevent gum problems from arising. All in all, mouthwash is not a bad idea! Yet, what about when it comes to your kids? Are they healthy or unhealthy for them?

Is Mouthwash Safe for Kids?

Mouthwash is not advised for kids ages 6 or under. Why is this the case? Some types of mouthwash, including those made for children, contain fluoride. While fluoride prevents tooth decay and other problems, it can also create problems in young children, such as fluorosis. This condition results in discoloration and potentially a changing of the texture of the teeth. Surprisingly, it may make a young child’s teeth bumpy due to the fact that they are still developing.

Yet, for older children, mouthwash is perfectly safe. It may also help prevent tooth decay caused by a not yet mastered brushing or flossing technique and habit. It may further be helpful for children with braces or hard-to-reach spots.

How to Use Mouthwash

Before having your child use mouthwash, try out the same procedure with water. This will ensure your child does not swallow the mouthwash and is able to swoosh the mixture around properly within their mouth. Instruct your child to take a sip of water, then gurgle it or swoosh it around, then have them spit it out in the sink. This is excellent practice for what is to come. It can also help you check to see if they are ready to use it or not.

It might also be a good idea to check with your child’s dentist before implementing a mouthwash routine. They may be able to make recommendations for your child and advise you on whether or not it is suitable for your child and their dental hygiene.

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Once the test is done and you have checked with your dentist, you can go ahead with the mouthwash under your supervision. It’s not ideal for your child to swallow mouthwash. This is due to the materials in mouthwash which may cause problems if consumed in high amounts.

Make it fun. Bring a stopwatch into it all, and time them for a minute. When the minute is up, count down for them to spit it out. Always make sure you see them actually spit it out as well, since high amounts of consumption can lead to health issues. It may help to inform them that swallowing it could make them sick. Further, start with a very small amount. While the label may recommend a certain amount, it never hurts to begin this habit with a smaller dosage until you are sure your child can handle it.

Once they have mastered it, they can use mouthwash twice a day, alongside their regular oral hygiene routine. Typically, at night is best since it is unlikely your child will be eating shortly after they brush their teeth at this time.

Are Certain Mouthwash Types Better for Children?

Aim to purchase alcohol-free mouthwash products for your children. Usually, you can find mouthwash products specifically made for children. These types typically come in various kid flavors as well, which may help encourage your children to try it.

In terms of a fluoride risk, this is considered fairly low for most mouthwashes, as long as high amounts are not consumed. Most mouthwashes contain about 0.02% of sodium fluoride, which is much less than the average toothpaste product.

Try It Out!

Mouthwash is a great addition to most oral hygiene routines. It can stop bad breath and prevent pesky bacteria from developing into a larger problem.

If your child is older than 6 years and has shown an interest in using mouthwash, try it out. Again, make sure you supervise to ensure your child uses it correctly.

You should also check with your dentist first, then go from there. Some dentists may not recommend the use of mouthwash until your child is around 12 years of age. However, there may be certain cases, such as frequent cavities or braces, where mouthwash may make the most sense. At the same time, if you suspect your child has a cavity or gum infections or diseases, book an appointment with the dentist. Mouthwash will not cure these problems.