Should You Let Your Child Use Mouthwashes?

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Establishing proper oral hygiene early on in life is one of the basic things that parents teach their kids. Regular brushing, flossing, and use of mouthwash are all parts of an adult’s oral hygiene routine to keep our teeth and gums healthy. But does this additional step of mouthwash use also apply to our kids? Should we also let our kids use mouthwashes too whenever they brush their teeth? Well, it depends.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), children younger than six should not use any mouthwash. This is because smaller kids may accidentally ingest the mouthwash. Ingestion of large amounts of fluoride through mouthwash can cause fluorosis or the discoloration of the tooth enamel.

Children below 12 years old, however, may be allowed to use mouthwashes, but require adult supervision. Adult supervision is needed for primarily two reasons. One, you can make sure that your child is not ingesting any mouthwash since too much fluoride can be harmful. And two, you can personally see if your child is brushing and flossing properly and not just gargling with mouthwash as a substitute.

Mouthwash use serves as a great oral care tool for older kids but not much on small, younger kids. For older kids, small amounts of fluoride in the mouthwash help to keep their teeth strong and cavity-free. Generally, mouthwashes contain fluoride that gives an extra dose of cavity protection. If your child already wears braces, the use of mouthwash can help loosen food particles that usually get stuck in the brackets and hard to reach areas of the mouth, ensuring a more thorough cleaning. Mouthwash use is also a good way to help protect your child’s teeth and gums from harmful, bacteria-causing acids while freshening their breath.

Just like toothpaste, your kid’s mouthwash ought to be spat out after gargling. If your child is between 6 to 8 years old, teach him or her to expel the mouthwash after swishing it in the mouth for 30 seconds. If you are concerned that your child may not be ready for mouthwash use yet, you can test it out through the use of water. Let your child gargle with water and then spit it out afterward. If your child successfully did it with water, chances are he or she can handle it as well with mouthwash.

There are several kid-friendly mouthwash brands available in the market that you can choose from. But we recommend that for your child’s use, choose a mouthwash that is alcohol-free and gentle on your kid’s mouth.

As a precaution considering its ingredients, mouthwash should always be stored away and out of reach of small children. Keep your mouthwash on a high shelf or locked cabinet until your child is old enough to know how to use the mouthwash safely.

Consult with your child’s dentist first if you are considering letting your child use mouthwash. Your pediatric dentist will know if the use of mouthwash will particularly benefit your kid’s teeth. Sometimes, a dentist may even prescribe a medicated mouthwash to treat or prevent certain oral problems.

Teaching your kids how to properly brush, floss, and use mouthwash regularly is key in building good oral habits.

Sources:

What Parents Should Know About Mouthwash For Children, Colgate Https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/life-stages/infant-kids/what-parents-should-know-about-mouthwash-for-children0115

Incorporating Mouthwash into Your Child’s Oral Hygiene Routine, Listerine https://www.listerine.com/mouth-coach/oral-health-routines-for-kids

Mouthwash (Mouthrinse), American Dental Association under Oral Health Topics https://www.ada.org/en/member-center/oral-health-topics/mouthrinse

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