Teaching children excellent oral hygiene at a young age is critical in maintaining their oral health for life. After all, fewer cavities and issues when they're young means your child is less likely to struggle with dental anxiety as they get older. According to the National Institutes of Health, 42% of children ages 2-11 years old have already experienced tooth decay. As a parent, you're always looking for ways to keep your kids as healthy as possible, and incorporating a mouthwash is a great way to boost your family's brushing and flossing routine.
When Mouthwash is Safe For Kids
Different mouthwashes have different benefits like preventing tooth decay, reducing plaque, freshening breath, and reducing and preventing gingivitis. Finding a suitable mouthwash that's safe for children to use is vital in your selection. A gentle mouthwash can support healthy teeth and gums, but it's also crucial to help your kids use mouthwash safely by following these simple guidelines:
Age Matters. The American Dental Association (ADA) suggests that children do not start utilizing mouthwash too early. Children younger than six years old should not be using a rinse of any kind. Young children tend to swallow rinses, and ingesting too much can lead to enamel discoloration - also known as fluorosis.
Always Use Rinses While Supervised. If a child is over the recommended age of six, supervision is still suggested while using mouthwash. Parental supervision is the only way to ensure the proper amount is measured and that the rinse is not swallowed. Even small amounts can lead to damaged tooth enamel and fluorosis.
Rinses Don't Replace Brushing. Ensure your kids know that rinsing their mouth with mouthwash does not replace great brushing and flossing habits.
Always Store Mouthwash Safely. Mouthwash should always be stored out of reach of young children. Because of the bright colors, fun flavors, and characters used for marketing on the bottles, mouthwashes can be dangerous if left out without adult supervision.
Not Every Child Will Benefit From Mouthwash
While not every child will need to incorporate mouthwash into their hygiene routine to improve their dental health, many can benefit. If your child struggles with frequent cavities and struggles to remove plaque while brushing, incorporating a fluoride rinse could be the perfect addition to help strengthen their enamel against acidic attacks.
Look For Products Designed For Kids
It's important to note that mouthwashes specifically designed for children are typically easier on their susceptible mouths than a standard cosmetic mouthwash that an adult would use. If you're introducing a mouthwash to your child, try one specifically designed for them and work up into an adult-friendly minty rinse. There are several types of mouthwash you can find in any personal hygiene aisle that are designed specifically for children. These rinses are typically alcohol-free and come in flavors that appeal to kids like bubblegum, wild berry, and grape.
If you'd like to find a rinse for your child that isn't a fruity flavor, look for a mouthwash containing no alcohol and ensure you're selecting a therapeutic rinse that helps prevent cavities with ingredients like fluoride.
Make Dental Hygiene Fun
Help your kids have a healthy smile by making dental hygiene fun for them. Ensuring that brushing, flossing, and dental checkups are positive experiences can help keep your child excited about their smile. Additionally, establishing healthy habits early in life is a great way for your child to have exceptional dental health for life.
Make dental hygiene family-friendly by:
Brushing and Flossing as a Family
A straightforward way to keep your child interested in daily brushing and flossing is to do it together. Set an excellent example for your kids by sharing your brushing techniques that include a full two minutes twice a day and helping them with the floss until they're old enough to do it on their own while you supervise.
Let Them Pick Their Toothbrush
Everyone loves getting something new, especially kids! Make it a habit of replacing toothbrushes every three months, and let your child pick their soft-bristled brush with their favorite characters or color.
Reward Healthy Dental Checkups
Children should visit the dentist every six months for cleanings and exams just like adults. Turn dentist days into a bonding experience by making it a special day you spend together that includes something fun to do together afterward.
To learn more about whether your children could benefit from incorporating a fluoride rinse, ask Elite Dental & Denture PC at their next checkup.