Regular mouthwash use is one of the big three dental habits, along with regular brushing and flossing.
A regular mouthwash routine does not act as a substitute for brushing and flossing. However, it can help clean areas that are otherwise hard to reach. Starting a child on the right path to a life of good dental hygiene, so that it becomes second nature, is essential to long term dental health. However, introducing them to mouthwash requires extra vigilance, and that includes knowing when the right time is to start.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends waiting until a child is at least six before letting them use mouthwash. Young children are conditioned to swallow liquids, and those under six can find it difficult to get used to swishing and spitting just when using mouthwash. They also may want to spit before the rinse has time to be effective.
Overuse is also a concern. Some fluoridated products are made in flavors designed to appeal to children. However, too much fluoride can lead to fluorosis, which can cause streaking and spotting on teeth that are not fully grown.
If your child is six or older, and you are not sure if they are ready to use mouthwash, check with your dentist. If she recommends starting a mouthwash routine, ask about products that are accepted by the ADA. When shopping, check labels to see if a product is purely cosmetic (temporarily eliminating bad breath), or if it has therapeutic properties, such as preventing tooth decay and gingivitis.
Just as you monitor your child’s hygiene habits, work with them to make sure they use a rinse correctly. If you think your child may be ready to start a mouthwash routine, please contact us.