When Should My Child Start Using Mouthwash?

Rinsing with mouthwash is an essential part of good oral care, but it can be difficult to know when it is time to introduce your child to mouthwash. A good rule of thumb is to introduce mouthwash after your child turns six years of age. When mouthwash is given prior to this age, your child may swallow it rather than swish it around in his or her mouth and spit it out, which may lead to nausea and vomiting.

1. Practice Swishing and Spitting

Before you give your child mouthwash, it is important to practice swishing and spitting. Once your child is over the age of six and you feel he or she is ready to start using mouthwash in their oral hygiene routine, prepare two small glasses of water. Take one glass of water and demonstrate to your child how to swish it around in his or her mouth and spit the water into the sink. Next, hand your child a small glass of water. Instruct them to take a small amount into their mouth and hold it without swallowing. Ask them to swish it around in his or her mouth for a few seconds before spitting it out into the sink. Once your child masters swishing and spitting water, he or she is ready for children’s mouthwash.

2. Choose the Right Children’s Mouthwash for Your Child

Children should only use a mouthwash that has been specially formulated for children. Adult mouthwash typically contains alcohol, which you would not want your child to accidentally swallow. The formulations in adult mouthwash are also stronger than the formulations in children’s mouthwash. When you choose a mouthwash for your child, make sure to find one that contains an ADA seal of approval and is free of alcohol and sweeteners, even if it is an artificial sweetener, as well as artificial colors and flavors. The mouthwash should contain fluoride to help strengthen your child’s teeth and contain ingredients to prevent cavities and tooth decay. Once you read the ingredients’ list to make sure it is safe and effective for your child, choose your child’s favorite flavor.

3. Personally Supervise Your Child When They Brush and Rinse Their Teeth

When your child brushes and rinses his or her teeth and mouth, always personally supervise them. We recommend watching your child’s oral health care routine until they are at least 12 years of age. This will help create good oral hygiene habits and prevent your child from skipping a step, like not brushing their teeth and only rinsing with their mouthwash.

4. Use a Timer to Help Your Child Rinse for One Minute

After your child brushes his or her teeth for three minutes, make sure he or she rinses with their mouthwash for 60 seconds. Swishing the mouthwash around for 60 seconds helps ensure that the liquid coats all of the teeth and has time to kill the excess bacteria in your child’s mouth.

5. Always Store Dental Hygiene Products out of Reach when not in Use

When your child is finished brushing his or her teeth, make sure to put all the oral hygiene products away in a cabinet or container that your child cannot reach. This will help prevent your child was accidentally eating or drinking the toothpaste and mouthwash or wasting it.

Choosing the Right Oral Hygiene Products for Your Child With Help From Our Maitland and St. Cloud Dentist

Our pediatric dentist in Maitland and St. Cloud can answer your questions about children’s oral hygiene and help you choose the right products to help you keep your child’s mouth healthy and clean during your child’s next regular dental check-up and teeth cleaning. We can also help you determine if your child is ready for mouthwash or if you should wait until your child is a bit older.
To schedule your child’s six-month or 12-month check-up or teeth cleaning, call us today. To schedule an appointment at out Maitland location, call us at 407-628-2286. To schedule a pediatric dental appointment at our St. Cloud location, call us at 407-593-8900.