The Basics of Mouthwash

So, you taught your child how to brush and floss, and they’re starting to develop their own daily routine. They learned how to use toothpaste, and floss properly. However, when is it safe to start using mouthwash? And, is it really necessary?

Let’s break down the basics of mouthwash!

When should children start using mouthwash?

Most dentists recommend starting to use mouthwash around age 7 or 8, or at least until your child is developmentally able to understand the concept of swishing the liquid around their mouth and then spitting it out without swallowing. It does contain alcohol or fluoride in it, which may cause issues when swallowed, so be careful with which one you choose and pay close attention to your child as they begin to use it.

How important is using it?

Mouthwash is fairly important; it is highly recommended that teens and adults use it. According to Listerine, when you brush, you only reach 25% of your mouth. This can help you reach areas of your mouth that you usually cannot. For younger children, it may be harmful, but getting your child into the routine of using it can be helpful for the future.

Does it cure bad breath?

Unfortunately, mouthwash is not a cure for bad breath. Though it can temporarily make your breath smell good, in the long run, due to the alcohol content, experts say it can dry out your mouth, leaving little saliva to clean up the germs on a daily basis. However, it still does rid your mouth of bacteria; you just need to pay attention to the ingredients and the brand you choose.

Is it safe?

Not all are safe for young children, especially due to the volume of fluoride or alcohol in them. If the child swallows the mouthwash, they can develop fluorosis, which is excess fluoride ingestion. Those that contain alcohol should always be avoided, as they can be damaging at any age. Once the child understands how to properly use mouthwash, a fluoride one may be the best option.

How often should children use it?

Children should use mouthwash at least once daily for 30-60 seconds before spitting it out.

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