Should Kids Use Mouthwash? – Advantages and Guidelines

Mouthwash does not only act as a cleaning aid but also helps to fight against dental caries, bad breath, etc. (1) Parents are always concerned about their child’s oral health.

Many times, children fail to maintain their oral hygiene. If your kid does not practice proper brushing technique and flossing, then the use of mouthwash surely helps to preserve the oral health of your kid.


However, mouthwash in a kid is not recommended before the age of 6 years as your kid may land in fluorosis. After having a check on your child’s age and opinion from a pediatric dentist you can use mouthwash for your kid.

To make your child learn the use of mouthwash, you can use a technique such as playing ‘mouthwash game’ with your child. Remember the earlier you start to have a check on your child’s oral health, the easier it will be to have a healthy oral health of your kid.

Usually, parents have a question on mouthwash use for their children. Here is what you need to know about mouthwash for your child.

Is your kid ready?

Kid at the age of 7 years or above can use mouthwash. Children must use mouth rinse under a parent’s supervision. Age of the child is a deciding factor for mouthwash use for the following reasons –

  • Tooth development process commences around at the age of six. Till this age, excessive fluoride can lead to fluorosis in children. Fluorosis is cosmetic damage to teeth which takes place during tooth development process.
    Fluorosis produces whitish brown patches on the labial surface of teeth and alters the texture of teeth. Mouthwash for children contains fluoride.
    To prevent the fluorosis in your child, you must not let your child use mouthwash too early and be sure your child does not swallow his fluoride toothpaste.  After the age of 6 years, you can use alcohol-free mouthwash for your child. (2)
  • Also, if your child’s age is 6 or above, it is not necessary that he/she is ready to use mouthwash. Children at an early age are not able to swish and spit. Many times they tend to drink the mouthwash as a beverage.
    Learning of the swishing of mouthwash is a skill. Test your child by asking him to take a sip of water and move in the mouth and then spit it.
    If he does it well, then he is ready for the mouthwash. Do not hurry for the mouthwash use until your child is ready for it. Till the time you can maintain your kid’s hygiene just by proper brushing and flossing.

Which mouthwash is best for your kid?

What to look for in mouthwash is a common question every parent has. We have outlined some of the things that will help you to choose the right mouthwash for your kid.

Like many other products, oral care product differs for children and the adult. Mouthwash for children has a kid-friendly flavor like bubblegum, wild berry, grape and feature cartoon graphics that makes taking care of gum and teeth a fun.

Parents are mostly concerned about the alcohol content of the mouthwash. But you need not worry about it as kid-friendly mouthwash are alcohol-free and also sugar-free.

There are two types of mouthwash available for children – cosmetic and therapeutic. Cosmetic mouthwash gives you pleasant breath and helps to keep your oral cavity clean. Also, it does not act on the cause of bad breath, but it can cover the bad breath.

However, therapeutic mouthwash prevents gingivitis, tooth decay, reduces plaque build up. It may not cover the bad breath but surely act on the cause of it. (3)

Depending upon your purpose behind the use of mouthwash, choose the right one for your kid. Also, consult a pediatric dentist for the opinion.

Advantages of mouthwash

With the use of mouthwash, children can enjoy extra cleaning benefits of it. Advantages of mouthwash are

  • Mouthwash enhances the effect of brushing and flossing.
  • Mouthwash renders fresh breath to your kid.
  • Mouthwash contains anti-caries activity substance like sodium fluoride. Fluoride content of mouthwash gives extra protection against the cavity formation over the age of 6 years. (4)
  • Children with braces find it difficult to clean teeth. Mouthwash helps to dislodge the bacteria and bit of food particle stuck in the bracket. It helps in thorough cleaning of teeth until the braces come off.
  • It is useful cleaning aid for the children who don’t brush or floss properly.
  • Therapeutic mouthwash reduces gum inflammation in gingivitis.
  • Mouthwash has anti-bacterial properties which help to keep your kid’s oral cavity bacteria free. (5)

Guidelines for using mouthwash

Children should use mouthwash in a parent’s supervision. Few points need to be taken care of strictly are-

  • Use mouthwash after brushing and flossing.
  • Make sure your child does not swallow mouthwash accidentally.
  • Make your child understand that mouthwash is just extra cleaning aid and it does not replace brushing and flossing. Hence your kid should brush twice in a day and floss once in a day daily.

Make learning use of mouthwash a fun for your kid. Play a ‘mouthwash game’ with your kid. Give your kid a prescribed amount of mouthwash and ask him to start swishing it.

Time them on a stopwatch. Be sure the swishing last for one minute and your kid does not swallow the mouthwash. After a minute tell your kid to spit.

Once your kid does it correctly, do not forget to appreciate him and say to him that he won the game. Your kid will find it interesting and will do it precisely to win the game every day.

Perform it daily with your kid. This daily routine can help your child to have good oral health.


Final words

Mouthwash is a beneficial cleaning aid for your kid if used after the age of 6 years. Keep in mind that mouthwash does not act as a replacement for other cleaning aids such as proper brushing and flossing.

Although, mouthwash use is not must for every kid. Visit a pediatric dentist to make the right choice for your kid. Make your kid learn the proper use of mouthwash. Use of all cleaning aids will reward your kid a healthy smile.


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