Is mouthwash safe for my child?

kids mouthwash
kids mouthwash under supervision

Is mouthwash safe for your kids? Although proper dental care is just as necessary for kids as it is for adults, your child’s routine won’t be exactly the same as yours. Children start with kid-safe toothpaste, brushes, floss, and eventually graduate to the adult versions. For this reason, you may have wondered about mouthwash. Is it safe for your child? When should they start using? Fortunately, your dentist is here with some answers.

According to Indian Pediatrics, the International Dental Federation recommends use of fluoride mouthwash for children above the age of 6 years. That means babies and toddlers should not use it, either, as children under six may not have fully developed their swallowing reflexes and could swallow the mouthwash. This can lead to side effects like vomiting, intoxication, and nausea.

Further, while small amounts of fluoride help keep your child’s teeth healthy and cavity-free, large amounts can lead to enamel discolouration, also known as fluorosis. If your child ingests mouthwash containing fluoride, fluorosis could manifest as white streaks on the teeth. According to the ADA, children under the age of eight are at risk for developing this condition when their teeth are still forming beneath their gums. But once the teeth emerge, they’re no longer at risk. Luckily, fluorosis isn’t a disease and won’t affect your child’s health. Instead, it’s a cosmetic condition. To prevent it, make sure your child doesn’t use mouthwash too soon or swallow their fluoride toothpaste.

Should Your Child Be Using Mouthwash?

It does more than just freshen your breath. Certain brands also wash away loose plaque and strengthen your teeth with fluoride. However, it isn’t right for every child.

Is Mouthwash Safe For My Child?

This largely depends on their age. Although fluoride mouthwash can be incredibly helpful in helping your child right cavities, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends waiting until they are about six years old to introduce it to their routine. This is because these younger kids may have a harder time not swallowing it. Fluoride is perfectly safe in small amounts (it is found in most municipal water supplies,) but consuming too much of it at an early age can result in fluorosis or discoloration of the enamel. Don’t worry about your child getting enough fluoride before they can use mouthwash. Fluoride treatment is a major part of general exams and cleaning when you take them to your nearby dentist.

Look For Kid-friendly

Like most other dental care tools, there are plenty of child-friendly varieties of mouthwash you can choose from. These usually feature popular cartoon characters or superheroes and come in sweet flavors like bubblegum or berry.

The differences are more than just superficial. They are geared towards kids omit potentially harmful ingredients found in the adult versions, like alcohol. Alcohol is useful for killing bacteria for adults but can hinder healthy growth and development for children.

Supervision And Safety

The best way to make sure your child is safely using mouthwash is to supervise them for the first few months. Demonstrate to them how to rinse and spit the first few times. Tell them that even though it tastes good, they shouldn’t drink it.Watch them closely to make sure they don’t swallow and let them know when they’ve done a good job. When your child isn’t using it, the mouthwash should be kept out of reach. Why? With its bright colors and sweet flavors, it may remind them of their favorite sugary drink. This means they may be tempted to try to drink it when you aren’t looking.


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