Should Children Use Mouthwash and At What Age?
With so many different mouthwashes available it’s difficult to know which one is best for your children to use. Although you can introduce your child to toothpastes like My First Colgate™ from infancy, however, it is typically recommended that you wait to introduce them to mouthwash until 6 years of age. Mouthwash should be spit out, just like toothpaste, but it can be tricky for young kids to get use to swishing the liquid rather than swallowing it like a beverage. One way to test your child and see if he is ready to use a mouthwash is to have him take a sip of water, swish it around his mouth and then spit it out into the sink. If kids can handle rinsing with water, they can most likely handle mouthwash.
There are two reasons we recommend parents wait until 6 years of age for their children to use mouthwash. The first is that some types of mouthwash for children contain fluoride. And although fluoride is great at preventing tooth decay – it can reduce decay by up to 60 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – too much too early on can cause fluorosis.
Fluorosis can occur only when a child’s teeth are still forming, and the condition causes changes to the color and texture of the teeth. A child’s teeth might develop white or brown spots, or the surface of the teeth may even be bumpy. Fortunately, fluorosis is just cosmetic, and can be prevented by making sure your child doesn’t use mouthwash too soon or swallow his fluoride toothpaste.
Mouthwashes that contain fluoride also provide an extra dose of cavity protection for kids over the age of 6. For kids that wear braces, mouthwash can loosen food that can become stuck in the brackets. Using a mouthwash can also be helpful for kids who haven’t become proficient at brushing or flossing yet.
There are two types of mouthwashes: therapeutic and cosmetic. Cosmetic mouthwash provides a clean, pleasant taste and reduces bad breath. Therapeutic mouthwash helps prevent tooth decay, reduce plaque and prevents gingivitis.
Today there are a variety of rinses available. Some are specifically aimed at children. If you are concerned about alcohol, there are alcohol-free rinses available that still contain fluoride.
Just remember that if your children are going to use mouthwash, make it clear to them that this is not an effective substitute for regular brushing and flossing.
Look for the ADA Seal of Approval
The American Dental Association (The ADA) tests oral products for effectiveness and safety. To attain the ADA seal of approval, a product must prove to be safe and effective. That’s why we suggest that you look for products with the ADA seal of approval. This will help you find a mouthwash that has been rigorously tested and approved by a legitimate association that advocates for oral health.
If you are looking for a pediatric dentist in Gainesville, Warrenton, Bristow, Haymarket, VA or the surrounding areas, please browse our website to learn more about our practice and dental services that are available for your child. Contact our office today at (703) 468-0700 to schedule a consultation to discuss your options and get answers to your questions. We look forward to welcoming your family into our own.