Should Kids Use Mouthwash?

Kid using mouthwash Hudsonville MI pediatric dentist


It’s pretty normal for mouthwash to become a staple in your oral hygiene routine. Based on this logic, you might be tempted to also integrate the product into your child’s daily routine as well. However, unless your child is old enough, our Hudsonville pediatric dentist strongly advises against doing so as it can cause harm. 

Here’s what parents should know before allowing your child to swish with mouthwash. 

Pay Attention to Age

While mouthwash is suitable for older children capable of also brushing their teeth on their own, it is not meant for those under the age of 6. In other words, both babies and toddlers do not need mouthwash for a clean smile. 

The reason for this, according to the American Dental Association (ADA), is due to an underdeveloped swallowing reflex. Children younger than 6 haven’t fully grasped the concept of spitting out what isn’t meant to be ingested. So, if given mouthwash, they will swallow it and possibly experience nasty side effects like vomiting or nausea.

To be safe, our pediatric dentist suggests just waiting until your child is older. Even still, children between 6 and 12 may require supervision to make sure any mouthwash isn’t used improperly or swallowed. You’ll also want to keep it out of reach the younger your child is to prevent unwanted incidents. 

Want extra protection without the mouthwash? We can apply dental sealants to your child’s teeth at our Hudsonville pediatric dental office to help fight tooth decay. Ask us today!

Ways Mouthwash Can Help

Once they’re old enough, the relationship between children and mouthwash transforms from dangerous into more positive. For example, your child can swish with mouthwash during the day to achieve fresher breath. 

Mouthwash can also help your child:

  • With cavity prevention thanks to included fluoride
  • Loosen bits of food that may be stuck in metal braces leading to a better clean
  • Reach areas in the mouth that may otherwise be difficult 

Keep in mind that even though mouthwash is safe for those over 6, there still exists the risk of fluorosis. Fluorosis is caused by excessive amounts of fluoride and can show up as white streaks on teeth. Mainly, the risk is highest for children under 8 due to teeth still developing under their gums.

Fortunately, fluorosis is not a disease and doesn’t negatively affect your child’s overall health. If you have additional questions about fluorosis and whether mouthwash is right for your child, don’t hesitate to ask our pediatric dentist.

How to Choose Kid-Friendly Mouthwash

If you’d like a mouthwash for your child to use in between professional teeth cleaning appointments, there are a few things to consider. For one, try to choose an alcohol-free option (that contains fluoride) as the addition isn’t the best for kids if small amounts are swallowed.

Also, in the same vein, we recommend selecting only mouthwashes that are labeled as “kid-friendly” or “made for kids”. By purchasing products like this, you ensure that it’s approved for children to use, especially if it is from a notable brand like Colgate or Oral-B. 

Lastly, keep an eye out for the ADA seal of approval. Seeing this seal on an oral care product means it’s been proven to be safe and effective for your child. 

Do What’s Best for Your Child

When used responsibly, mouthwash can benefit your child’s smile. Our pediatric dentist in Hudsonville, MI, can even give recommendations if you’re unsure about which mouthwash to choose. Call Hudsonville Dental Kids today at (616) 209-4039 to schedule an appointment and ask away!