When Is Your Kid Ready For A Mouthwash?
It is important to establish good oral hygiene early on in life, but is brushing enough?
Not many studies exist for children, the question becomes whether mouthwash should be used in children or not.
It’s obvious that children over 12 years of age will be fine with using mouthwash. As they typically understand that mouthwash is not a drink, but for children under that age, the issue becomes complicated.
Good judgement is key. A child who is prone to drinking or eating anything that can get in his or her mouth is obviously not a good candidate for mouthwash as the benefits are far outweighed by the possible negative consequences.
Yet still, there are some children who may seem like good candidates for mouthwash, but simply do not need it at all.
As a parent, you will have to make this judgement call.
General tips on deciding if your child can used mouthwash is:
- If the child is age 6 or older –
- If the child knows that drinking mouthwash is not okay
- If the child is generally responsible about oral hygiene(a child who doesn’t brush and floss well is better off learning how to brush and floss before using mouthwash)
- If the child wants to use mouthwash
Do NOT allow your child to use mouthwash if:
- The child is younger than the age 6
- The child is prone to accidental swallowing
- The child does not know how to brush or floss his or her teeth
- The child does not want to use mouthwash
If you decide that your child is ready to use mouthwash begin by always teaching them, mouthwash is not something they can drink.
Some parents have found success in using a cup of water and a tablespoon of salt to teach good mouth washing habits before transitioning to mouthwash. If you feel your child is not ready for mouthwash, using salt and water is a great alternative until the child is ready.
Table salt and water is a far better alternative to swallowing the alcohol and essential oils that are present in many mouthwashes.
See also: Best electric toothbrush for kids
Additionally, using child dedicated mouthwash for children can be used as flavors can encourage mouth washing habits, however, it may also increase instances of swallowing.
As always you will have to supervise children under 10 while they are using the mouthwash and have methods to intervene if they somehow choke or swallow the mouthwash.
Poison control numbers should always be nearby and typically will be on the bottle of mouthwash. It is said on the label that if more than used for rinsing is swallowed, contact poison control, however, it is a good idea to contact a healthcare provider immediately if the child swallows any mouthwash at all.
With that in mind, be safe in the knowledge that mouthwash will do your child a greater good for his or her oral hygiene in the future.