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As your kids grow older and more teeth begin to appear, you may wonder how to up your kid’s oral hygiene game. After all, you want to do your best to make sure those little pearly whites stay, well, pearly white and healthy! Maybe you’ve got brushing and flossing down pat, which is great, but what else can you do? How about mouthwash for your kids? Wait, is mouthwash even safe for kids?

Your Missouri City pediatric dentists at The Beach House Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics want to help answer your questions about kids mouthwash. We love teaching our young patients and their adults about the best at-home oral care that’s both effective and fun, just like our dental services! Read on for info about:

  • when kids can start using mouthwash
  • the most common types of kid’s mouthwash
  • the benefits of mouthwash
  • our suggestions for the best mouthwash options for kids

So When Can Kids Start Using Mouthwash?

The age when kids can start using mouthwash varies, but the American Dental Association (ADA) says around six years old. In other words, mouthwash for toddlers isn’t recommended. Why is age six considered when mouthwash is safe for kids? Well, at this age, children typically can rinse and spit the mouthwash without swallowing it. Swallowing too much mouthwash can make them feel sick, and even cause nausea or vomiting. And if the mouthwash contains fluoride, swallowing lots of it can lead to fluorosis which shows up as white or brown spots on their adult tooth enamel.

Ask a pediatric dentist like Dr. Parker or Dr. Sana to confirm your child is ready, as every child develops at their own pace. Be sure to bring it up at your next check up and cleaning! We also recommend supervising the first few times to make sure your child can spit out the mouthwash on their own.

Types of Mouthwash for Kids

When choosing a mouthwash for kids, it’s important to choose one designed for children. Here are three top things to consider when deciding on a kids mouthwash:

  • Fluoride Mouthwash for Kids: Fluoride in a mouthwash can help strengthen tooth enamel and prevent cavities. Primary teeth already have thinner enamel than adult teeth so a strengthening mouthwash is a win! Fluoride mouthwash is an especially good choice for cavity-prone kids.
  • Alcohol-Free: Mouthwash containing alcohol can be harsh and may cause a burning sensation for kids’ sensitive palates and taste buds. Alcohol-free formulas are gentler on their mouths.
  • Natural Mouthwash: Some parents prefer natural mouthwashes that contain ingredients like xylitol and essential oils.

Benefits of Mouthwash for Kids

Mouthwash offers several benefits that bring an even brighter sparkle to your child’s smile:

  • Cavity Prevention: As we mentioned earlier, fluoride mouthwash for kids helps strengthen tooth enamel against the effects of those pesky sugar bugs that lead to cavities.
  • Fresher (Fruitier!) Breath: Mouthwash can help reduce bad breath by reducing the oral bacteria that causes less-than-pleasant breath. And whether your kiddo is up for a minty flavor or a fruity one, it’ll smell a lot nicer than without!
  • Gum Health: Regular mouthwash use can reduce plaque buildup, especially in those hard-to-reach areas between teeth and along the gumline. This is helpful for maintaining healthy gums and avoiding gingivitis.
  • Gives You Peace of Mind: Let’s be honest, sometimes kids don’t clean their mouths very thoroughly. Maybe they’re running late for school or it’s been a long day. A swish of mouthwash is an added layer of protection and cleaning that helps make up for less-than-diligent brushing.

Our Picks: The Best Mouthwash for Kids

Choosing the best mouthwash for your kids involves considering factors like fluoride, kid-friendly flavor, being alcohol-free, and having the ADA’S Seal of Acceptance. Some of our favorites include:

  • ACT Kids Mouthwash: This fluoride formula comes in kid-friendly flavors like Bubblegum Blowout, Wild Watermelon, Pineapple Punch and Groovy Grape.
  • Listerine Smart Rinse: With an ADA Seal of Acceptance, this one checks all the boxes — it’s an alcohol-free, anti-cavity, fluoride mouthwash for kids and comes in various kid-approved flavors.
  • Tom’s of Maine Natural Children’s Mouthwash: A natural option that’s got fluoride, is alcohol-free and doesn’t have any artificial dyes or sweeteners.
  • Therabreath for Kids Anticavity Oral Rinse: The sophisticated mint flavors of this brand may appeal to older kids who’ve moved past fruity flavors and want fresh-smelling breath.

There you have it, mouthwash can be a majorly helpful addition to your kiddo’s at-home oral care routine. When you start it at an age kids can safely use mouthwash, the benefits of mouthwash include better cavity protection and fresher breath. Plus, it may turn out to be an extra fun part of your kid’s oral hygiene routine that they look forward to!

Have more questions about mouthwash for kids? We’ve got your answers at The Beach House Pediatric Dentistry. Contact us for your child’s next appointment and we’ll help with personalized tips on leveling up your child’s oral care at home.