Choosing the Right Mouthwash for Your Child
It can be hard enough getting children to brush and floss their teeth; is it really necessary to add mouthwash to the mix? According to the American Dental Association, mouthwash can help prevent gingivitis, combat bacteria in the mouth and, if the mouthwash contains fluoride, reduce cavities. And for children who are not always the most diligent brushers, this extra step can actually do a lot of good. Remember that mouthwash is not a substitute for routine brushing and flossing.
After the age of six, most children can begin to incorporate mouthwash into their oral health routine. Younger children are not adept at the swish-and-spit process and may swallow too much of the fluid. Always instruct children younger than 12 years of age in good rinsing habits. Supervise as necessary to minimize swallowing. You can show your child how to use the mouthwash by using it yourself. When your child uses mouthwash, start by diluting it with water to make it less potent until he or she gets the hang of spitting it all out.
It is important to choose a mouthwash that your child will actually want to use as well as one that is safe for children. Most children’s mouthwashes contain fluoride to give young teeth an extra boost. Some brands have special dyes that show your child the location of bacteria and food in the mouth; they may find this feature intriguing. Child-friendly mouthwashes also contain less alcohol and come in fun flavors like bubble gum or grape. For those who prefer natural options, there are products on the market that use naturally derived ingredients, such as xylitol, baking soda and essential oils.
Mouthwashes marketed to adults can be used, as well, but these are best used by teens. Young children often end up swallowing more mouthwash than they should, and adult mouthwashes may contain higher levels of ingredients that are harmful if ingested in large amounts.
Before using a new mouthwash, always check with Dr. Jared at KiDDS Dental to make sure that it is safe for children—and happy swishing!
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