If you want to make sure your child is developing great oral hygiene habits, you may be wondering when you can introduce them to mouthwash. Is mouthwash safe for kids? When should they start using it? What kind of mouthwash is best for kids? Find out in this blog from Sea of Smiles Pediatric Dentistry.
Mouthwash Should Not Be Used By Kids Under The Age Of Six
First and foremost, you should not be introducing your kids to mouthwash until they are old enough to brush their own teeth. Usually, this means your child won’t use mouthwash until they’re about six years old.
To use mouthwash properly, your child must understand how to swish and spit without swallowing any of the mouthwash. If your child still swallows toothpaste or can’t spit on command, they’re too young to use mouthwash.
In rare cases, pediatric dentists like Dr. Mukund Patel or Dr. Raj Patel may recommend kids younger than six use mouthwash, but this is usually only required if your child has gingivitis or a similar oral health issue.
Stick To An Alcohol-Free Mouthwash That’s Kid-Friendly
Once you decide to introduce your child to mouthwash, you should go shopping with them and pick out a kid-friendly mouthwash of their choice! There are a lot of mouthwashes that are designed specifically for children.
Often, they’ll feature cartoons or other kid-friendly designs, and have flavors like grape and bubblegum that kids love. Look for ingredients like fluoride and other active ingredients that help prevent cavities and kill oral bacteria.
In addition, you should look for a mouthwash that’s alcohol-free. If your child swallows a mouthwash with alcohol, they may become sick. An alcohol-free mouthwash ensures that, even if your child swallows some of it, they won’t feel any negative effects.
Finally, ensure the mouthwash you choose has the ADA Seal of Approval. This means that it’s been tested and conforms to the standards of the American Dental Association, and will be safe for your child to use.
Use Mouthwash Properly: It’s Not A Substitute For Good Brushing & Flossing Habits!
Once your child starts to use mouthwash, it’s important that they understand how to use it properly. Mouthwash is not a substitute for brushing and flossing. Instead, it’s a good way to augment good brushing and flossing habits, and improve your oral health even further.
Make sure your child continues to brush twice a day for two minutes, ideally in the morning and at night. In addition, don’t let your child use mouthwash immediately after they brush their teeth.
Why? Because after your child brushes, the fluoride in their toothpaste needs to sit on their teeth for a few minutes to fight back against cavities.
If you rinse the fluoride away with mouthwash (or water) immediately after brushing, your child won’t get the full benefits of brushing. Your child should wait at least 30 minutes after brushing to use mouthwash.
Know When You Should Introduce Your Child To Mouthwash!
We hope this information has helped you learn more about proper dental hygiene for kids, and when your child should start using mouthwash. Got more questions, or need a check-up for your little one in Yardley, Bensalem or Warrington?
Get in touch with Sea of Smiles Pediatric Dentistry now for an appointment with Dr. Raj or Dr. Mukund. We’re always accepting new pediatric patients of all ages. Contact us online to get started, or give us a call at (267) 392-5878 to make an appointment.