Mouthwash for Children: Examining the Benefits

Mouthwash for children is designed to promote oral health care. In this article, we'll tell you about its benefits, how to use it, and when to use it.
Mouthwash for Children: Examining the Benefits

Last update: 28 January, 2021

Mouthwash for children is often a topic that parents want to talk about with their child’s dentist. We commonly see these products among all the other oral care products, along with their attractive flavors and attractive images, and we often ask ourselves whether these mouthwashes are really necessary for our children.

In the following article, we’ll be explaining what they’re used for and what the minimum age is for their use. You’ll also learn how to use this product to look after your children’s oral health.

What is mouthwash for children?

Mouthwashes for children are solutions that can complement regular teeth cleaning. They’re designed to prevent cavities, but they also help control bacteria and freshen the breath.

Mouthwash for Children: Examining the Benefits

Among its main ingredients, there should be a fluoride content appropriate for the age of each child. This element helps to strengthen tooth enamel and prevents cavities.

Another common component is panthenol (provitamin B5), which helps protect the gums. When reading the product labels, it’s important to check that they don’t contain alcohol.

Although a multitude of brands, flavors and designs can be found on the market, the main characteristic to consider when choosing them is whether it’s a mouthwash that should be used before or after toothbrushing.

  • Pre-brushing rinses: these mouthwashes stain the teeth with a color that can help the child to see the presence of bacterial plaque and, thus, brush their teeth more efficiently. These encourage children to brush their teeth longer and more thoroughly, as the child will be really keen to eliminate all the stained areas. They’re useful products to teach children correct brushing techniques, and to help prevent the accumulation of the bacterial plaque that causes cavities.
  • Post-brushing rinses: these are the most common ones. They’re available for daily use with sodium fluoride concentrations of 0.05% (220 parts per million of fluoride or ppmF) or for weekly use with concentrations of 0.2% (900 ppmF).
  • Daily rinses are used once a day after brushing and weekly rinses are used once a week. A children’s dentist will be able to guide you as to which mouthwash is most suitable for your child.

Benefits of mouthwash for children

As we’ve already mentioned, the use of mouthwash in children is a complement in oral health care. It enhances the use of toothbrush and dental floss and in no way replaces them. Therefore, some of the benefits of using mouthwash are the following:

  • The presence of fluoride protects the enamel and prevents cavities. It also favors the remineralization process in the case of incipient caries.
  • It helps to freshen your breath.
  • It’s useful in children with braces, as it helps to clean trapped food remains. It also helps in hard-to-reach areas.
  • Tooth-staining mouthwashes help children who haven’t yet mastered the brushing technique to learn and practice.
  • It protects the gums and prevents gum inflammation and bleeding.
  • Because they’re usually pleasant tasting and come in attractive formats, they can encourage children’s interest in oral health care.

When to start using it?

Before starting to use mouthwash for children, parents should make sure that the child is able to spit and understands that the liquid shouldn’t be swallowed.

It’s especially important that the child doesn’t swallow the mouthwash because of the fluoride content. If a child ingests this frequently, then it can cause fluorosis.

Fluorosis occurs when the child’s teeth are still forming and are exposed to too much fluoride. The teeth become white or brown and may have irregular surfaces.

In general, children are usually ready by the age of 6. However, it’s a good idea for them to practice with water first. If the child is able to take a sip of water, rinse their mouth without swallowing it, and then spit it out, then they’ll likely be able to do the same with mouthwash.

How do you use mouthwash for children?

Before buying a mouthwash for children, you should consult your child’s dentist. They’ll be able to advise you as to whether it’s necessary to use it or not. They’ll also be able to recommend which type of mouthwash is most appropriate, and how they should use it.

Mouthwash for Children: Examining the Benefits

When a child first starts to use children’s mouthwash, parents should supervise the process. They should measure out the correct dose in order to ensure the child doesn’t ingest too much.

The parents should also make sure that the child doesn’t swallow the mouthwash by accident. In addition to this, they need to ensure the child brushes and flosses correctly.

Motivating the child with games or songs can also be helpful. One technique is to use a timer or watch. You simply set the stopwatch for a minute, and then instruct the child to spit it out. After swishing the mouthwash and spitting it out, don’t rinse with water. Ideally, they shouldn’t eat or drink anything for at least 30 minutes.

Consultation with the child’s dentist

Mouthwash for children is a complement in the child’s oral hygiene routine, but it isn’t necessary for all children. We recommend you consult with your child’s dentist before starting to use these products. They’ll be able to let you know which are the best ones, as well as how to use it and whether it’s really necessary.

Whatever the case, incorporating oral health habits from an early age will really make a difference. If the dentist recommends it, then mouthwash for children can be an ally in preventing cavities and taking care of oral health.


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.