We know how important dental health is for your kids. Brushing every morning, after sugary and sticky snacks and before bedtime is encouraged. Some kids even enjoy flossing using flavoured dental flow. But how about mouthwash? Can children use it? Or, more fittingly, should they use it?
Are Your Children Ready?
Typically, mouthwash is not recommended for children under the age of six. Some types of mouthwash for kids contain fluoride. While fluoride is beneficial for preventing tooth decay, having too much too early may result to fluorosis. Fluorosis can happen only when a child’s teeth are still developing, and this condition may affect the texture and color of the teeth. Your child’s teeth could develop brown spots or the surface of the teeth may be rough.
Fortunately, fluorosis is simply cosmetic and can be prevented by making sure your child does not use mouthwash too soon or ingest fluoride toothpaste. Remember that even if your child’s teeth are ready for use of mouthwash, your kid might not be. Just like toothpaste, mouthwash must be spit out. However, it can be complicated, especially for young kids to swish the liquid instead of swallowing it.
One way to see if your child is ready to use it is to have him take a sip of water. Let him swish it around his mouth and then spit it out. If your child can perform this, they can most likely handle mouthwash.
Why Use Mouthwash?
Mouthwash is intended to enhance the effects of brushing and flossing. It can help give a fresher breath. Mouthwashes with fluoride provide more cavity protection for children over the age of six. If your child is wearing braces, using it can loosen the food bits that usually get stuck in the brackets, providing a more thorough cleaning until the braces come off. Using a mouthwash for kids is also beneficial for those who have not yet mastered flossing or brushing yet.
How to Use Mouthwash?
When your child use a mouthwash for the first time, it is important to provide supervision to ensure he does not swallow it accidentally.
Create a game out from using it. Use a stopwatch and time them for about a minutes and then, say ‘Spit!’, when it is time to spit it out. By supervising your child in the early phase of using mouthwash, it will also ensure that he is brushing and flossing before using the rinse.
Since mouthwash is not a must-use item for each child, ask your pediatric dentist before using it. He might recommend a mouthwash product that will benefit your child’s teeth.