Teaching your child the right oral care habits is essential to their overall health as they grow. You know the basics, everyone should brush and floss their teeth. But is mouthwash right for everyone? Here we’ll take a look at whether mouthwash is the best way for children to take care of their teeth and when the right time is for them to start.
Children and Oral Health: The Basics
Some parents may turn to mouthwash as a way to boost their child’s oral care routine if their child is suffering from bad breath or appears to be having issues with their gums. The problem? While mouthwash may be a welcome addition, it won’t be able to make up for poor oral hygiene habits. Before you consider introducing mouthwash to your child, you’ll want to help them develop good oral habits like:
- Brushing their teeth for two minutes, twice daily or more, making sure that they scrub the surface of each tooth as well as the top of their tongue. Some toothbrushes include a design that helps them divide their teeth into quadrants and brush for the recommended time more effectively. If your child is struggling with timing their brushing, consider looking for one of these helpful products.
- Helping them to floss once per day before brushing (if they’re old enough to use floss safely).
- Make brushing their teeth a fun routine; leading by example and getting them excited to take care of their teeth.
Once they know how to take basic care of their teeth, then mouthwash may be something you can consider adding to their daily oral care regimen.
Is My Child Old Enough to Use Mouthwash?
While there are plenty of children’s mouthwash products on the market, not all children are ready to begin using these products. In fact, the general consensus is that children under age six should not be using mouthwash at all (unless recommended by a pediatric dentist), as children may swallow the solution.
Children’s mouthwash is recommended for kids ages six through twelve, and parent supervision is still a necessity during these ages to make sure that they’re using mouthwash safely and properly.
Once they’ve gotten a bit older and know how to use mouthwash safely, they can begin to use it without supervision and can move onto products designed for older individuals. They may even take it to school, much like you would engage in oral care at work.
Selecting the Right Mouthwash for Your Child
Look for the right mouthwash for your child based on what they’ll be most excited to use, and the needs of their oral health. For example, when you first purchased toothpaste for your child, you most likely selected one with a fun flavor or their favorite cartoon characters, rather than the same brand that you use.
Not every mouthwash is right for kids. Some popular mouthwashes can taste bad to them or be harsh on their mouth. Others will have ingredients that are simply not necessary for your child and could be potentially unsafe for them at this point in time.
For basic coverage, look for an anticavity fluoride rinse. There are plenty of products out there that offer the right oral health benefits and come in a wide variety of fun flavors, whether that be bubble gum or watermelon. If you’re worried that your child may not be brushing their teeth as well as they should be, you may want to instead opt for a product that stains the teeth to show them which areas they’re missing. Put simply, take your child’s needs into consideration when you decide that mouthwash is right for them and find one that they’ll enjoy using.
If you run into any problems along the way, you can always ask your family dentist which products they recommend and which ones will be helpful in boosting your child’s overall oral hygiene.
Adding Mouthwash to Your Child’s Oral Healthcare Routine
As long as your child is age six or older, mouthwash should be a safe addition to their routine provided that you’ve chosen the right product for their needs and actively supervise them to make sure that they’re using the products as instructed. That being said, it’s important to remember that mouthwash is never a suitable replacement for good oral hygiene practices.
If you’re worried about your child’s oral health, bring them to a pediatric dentist to make sure that they’re getting the care they need!