Mouthwash is generally not recommended for children under the age of six years old.
Mouthwash can be an important part of oral health care for both children and adults. Although it is not a substitute for brushing and flossing, mouthwash can help to kill bacteria and freshen breath. Some people may wonder if it is safe for kids to use mouthwash, and the answer is yes — with some caveats. Read on to learn more about mouthwash for kids and how to safely use it…
When can kids use mouthwash?
When it comes to taking care of your child’s smile, it is important that you establish healthy oral hygiene habits from a young age. You can help your child to brush their teeth with a baby-friendly toothpaste from infancy, but it is generally recommended that you hold off on mouthwashes until they have reached at least the age of six years old.
Many mouthwashes contain fluoride, which is not generally recommended for very young children. Although fluoride can help to strengthen the teeth and prevent tooth decay, using too much too early in life can cause an issue known as fluorosis in which the colour and texture of the teeth are affected in teeth that are still developing. Fluorosis is a cosmetic concern — it can cause white or brown spots on the teeth — and is easily prevented by ensuring that your child doesn’t use mouthwash or swallow fluoride-containing toothpaste at a young age.
What are the benefits of mouthwash?
When your child is ready to use mouthwash, you can introduce it into their daily oral hygiene routine. It is important to remember that your child should be able to spit out mouthwash, rather than swallow it, so it is worth practising with water first to confirm that your child understands the concept.
Mouthwash is no substitute for regular brushing and flossing, but it can help to keep your child’s breath fresh. Mouthwash can also help to loosen food particles that may be stuck between the teeth or in braces, especially in hard-to-reach areas of the mouth.
How do you ensure safe mouthwash use?
If you choose to introduce a mouthwash into your child’s daily oral hygiene routine, it is important that you supervise the process when they first begin. Explain to your child that they should not swallow the mouthwash, and watch them as they learn to use the product. You may find it helpful to make a game of using mouthwash by using a stopwatch or short song to time them as they rinse. Remember to make sure that your child is brushing and flossing thoroughly before they rinse with a mouthwash.
How can we help?
If you think that your child would benefit from using a mouthwash, it is advisable that you speak to their dentist first. They will let you know if it is worth adding a mouthwash to your child’s oral hygiene routine, and if so, they can recommend a suitable product.
At Integra Dental, we provide a comprehensive range of dental care to patients of all ages, including children. In fact, we provide a comfortable and enjoyable setting for your child to get their regular check-ups, cleans and fluoride treatments. We encourage our patients to bring their little ones in to see us every six months so that we can help to maintain optimal oral health and establish positive habits in the long-term. These appointments also provide parents with the opportunity to raise any questions or concerns about their family’s oral health and hygiene. Our team of dentists will provide you with all the information and advice that you need to keep your children’s smiles happy and healthy.
If you would like to find out more about our children’s dentistry services, please have a look here.
If you would like to book an appointment, please contact us here. We look forward to welcoming you and your family to our comfortable practice in Robina.