We're certain that you as a parent have seen so many different products tailored to children. Food just for kids, children's shampoos, soaps and toothpastes, and even mouthwash. But does your child really need a mouthwash?
In our office, we recommend that you wait until your child is at least 6 years old, and only with parental supervision. How do you know when they're ready? Do they really need it to maintain optimal oral health?
Knowing Your Child is Ready
Generally, by age 6, your child will be able to use mouthwash without swallowing it. Many mouthwashes contain fluoride, and while we highly recommend that to help build strong teeth, it's not good to have too much of it. Too much fluoride too early in life can cause fluorosis, which is a condition that changes the color and texture of young teeth. They may even develop white spots or brown spots on their teeth. It's just a cosmetic condition, so there's nothing to fear from it, however, correcting it can be costly and it's easily avoidable. Wait until your child is ready before introducing them to a fluoridated mouthwash.
When introducing mouthwash, first make it clear to your child that it's to be swished around the mouth and spit out, much like toothpaste. Have them practice with a small cup of water first.
Is it Necessary?
Necessary, no, recommended, yes. Mouthwash is intended to be used to boost the positive effects of flossing and brushing. If your child is concerned about bad breath, that can also be a tool to help. (If you notice that your child has unusually bad breath, that can be a sign of decay and you should contact our office right away for an exam) Also, as we mentioned, using a mouthwash that has fluoride in it can also boost the strength of your child's teeth.
If you have any questions about if your child is ready and what kind of mouthwash you should use, please let our dentist know on your child's next checkup. We look forward to seeing you soon!