One common question that parents have about kid’s dental care is whether they should have their child use mouthwash. There is no straightforward answer for this as it depends on the age of the child and several other factors. The American Dental Association (ADA) does not recommend that children under age six use mouthwash at all. However, it can be useful for older children to help control bacteria and freshen breath.
Reasons Behind the ADA Recommendation
Children of kindergarten age and younger often do not understand the purpose of mouthwash and will drink it instead of swish it around and spit it out. This is not a substance people should swallow as it can be harsh on the throat. Your child may also come to associate it with a strong taste when drinking it and then avoid it later for legitimate purposes.
Since mouthwash contains fluoride, frequent swallowing of it can give children more fluoride than they need. A small amount of fluoride is helpful in preventing tooth decay, but too much can cause a condition known as dental fluorosis. This will cause white spots to appear on your child’s teeth that may be difficult to remove.
Supervise Early Use of Mouthwash
Just as you do with other aspects of kids dental care when your children are young, plan to supervise the use of mouthwash to ensure that your son or daughter does it correctly. If it seems clear that your child swallowed the mouthwash instead of swished it around, ask him or her to try it again while you are standing right there. Instruct your child to swish for several seconds and then spit the mouthwash into the sink just as he or she does with toothpaste.
When choosing mouthwash for your child, make sure that it does not contain any alcohol. The taste will be too harsh for kids and you also don’t want them to suffer the consequences of alcohol consumption. Be sure to keep mouthwash stored out of your child’s reach until you are certain he or she is old enough to understand that it is not for drinking purposes.
Mouthwash is an Important Part of Kids Dental Care
Including mouthwash with the daily oral healthcare routine can provide children with several benefits. It is proven to reduce plaque and bacteria that can lead to tooth decay and cavities if not removed. If you have an older child who wears braces, using mouthwash after each meal helps to loosen food particles that might have remained trapped otherwise. The problem with food remaining lodged in braces is that it can eventually fall out, break down, and turn into bacteria.
FUNtastic Dental Offers Mouthwash Recommendations
We care about every aspect of your child’s oral health at FUNtastic Dental. If you are considering introducing mouthwash to his or her toothbrushing routine at home, we are happy to provide tips and specific product recommendations. We appreciate all that you do as a parent to help with kid’s dental care. Your hard work will pay off when your child gets one great report after another from our dental team. Contact us today to schedule your child’s appointment.