Helpful Pediatric Dentistry Tips!

Can Kids Use Mouthwash?

by Dr. Steven Whittemore | Published March 21, 2018

When it comes to keeping children’s oral health, it’s important that they understand all of the options available to them. We commonly stress the importance of brushing and flossing, but what about using mouthwash? Are kids allowed to use mouthwash? Is there an age of when they should start using them? To answer it simply, yes, kids can absolutely use mouthwash, but only once they reach a certain age or level of maturity. Mouthwash is an effective tool for keeping teeth and gum lines clean when used properly.

Younger Children

Kids should not start using mouthwash until about the age of six years old, at earliest. When they do start using mouthwash, children should only use mouthwash under the supervision of parents. Usually, this is between the ages of 6-10. It depends on the development and maturity of the child, since many kids incorrectly view the colorful, tasty product as a delicious drink that they can consume, which will make them sick. It is also important that younger kids don’t use mouthwash every day while they are young. Please follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on how to give your young child each specific mouthwash.

Older Children

Older children can find mouthwash to become a very beneficial tool. Many kids between the ages of 10-18 will be wearing braces that make it harder to keep teeth clean. Properly using mouthwash can allow plaque in those hard to reach places to be removed from the brace bracket, wire, or tooth. This is also the age when kids start eating and drinking foods and drinks with more sugar, so their tooth health is especially important. We still recommend that kids do not overuse mouthwash, but preteens and teenage kids are able to use it as they please.

Types of Mouthwashes

It’s important to know that there are generally two different mouthwashes that people use: cosmetic and therapeutic. Cosmetic mouthwash is used for the purpose of creating fresh breath without actually killing much bacteria. Think of it as a temporary fixer-upper. On the other hand, therapeutic mouthwash is used to combat tooth decay, gingivitis, and plaque buildup. Although it may not be as refreshing as a cosmetic mouthwash, it will do what mouthwash is supposed to do: clean. Also, make sure to check that there is the ADA stamp of approval on all mouthwashes that you purchase.

Use Mouthwash With Purpose

Using mouthwash is a simple thing to do but much like anything, it still requires some technique. Kids can be stubborn or simply unaware to the fact that it needs to be swished around inside of their mouths. It is important that they get every corner of their mouth and use it for at least 20-30 seconds. If mouthwash just sits in the mouth, it is hardly doing what it is intended to do.

Des Moines Pediatric Dentists

Dr. Barsetti and Dr. Whittemore have been serving kids and parents throughout Des Moines and Ankeny for decades. If your child needs a dental exam, sealants or mouthguard, or even a dental emergency; contact Pediatric Dentistry today. We love having new patients around too! If you are interested in having your child become a new patient with us, give us a call to set up their first examination and fill out our New Patient Consent Form.

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