In Pediatric Dentist Blog

Brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash are a powerful trifecta when it comes to the home care for supporting excellent oral health. However, many parents ask whether mouthwash is safe for young children.

Of course, it depends on the child’s ability to master rinsing and spitting without swallowing. Often that skill is present around the age of 6. If they can do that, then generally speaking, yes, mouthwash is safe. And, it is effective in helping to prevent tooth decay, reduce plaque, freshen breath, and fight gingivitis.

Tips for Introducing Kids to Mouthwash

While mouthwash is safe for kids who meet the requirements mentioned above, you should still be careful and deliberate in how you introduce your child to this new part of their oral care routine. Below are some proven tips for success.

  • Confirm the child’s understanding of “rinse and spit.” Before using mouthwash, have your child stand at the sink and rinse and spit with a small amount of water.
  • Use a kid-friendly mouthwash. Mouthwash formulated for kids has none of the alcohol found in adult mouthwashes. And, it comes in flavors kids like such as bubble gum, grape, and others.
  • Use an ADA-approved mouthwash. Look for the American Dental Association’s seal of approval on a mouthwash bottle. It’s your sign that the product has been thoroughly tested and approved.
  • Make sure your child only uses their own mouthwash. Although a child shouldn’t swallow mouthwash of any kind, if they believe that their bottle and yours are interchangeable, they run the risk of consuming alcohol. Be sure they understand that this rule applies if they are sleeping at a friend or relative’s house as well.
  • Supervise mouthwash use initially. It is important that you watch your child use mouthwash for two reasons. First, you want to be sure they are using it correctly—the right amount, for the right time (30-60 seconds), and then spitting all of the mouthwash out. Second, you want to know that they are using mouthwash in addition to brushing and flossing, not as a substitute for brushing and flossing.

The New Tool in Their Oral Care Toolkit

Rinsing with mouthwash is another way for a child to keep their mouth clean and healthy. Along with brushing, flossing, and regular dental cleanings and checkups, it is a great addition to their oral care toolkit. If you have questions about kids and mouthwash, we’re happy to answer them! Contact us at your convenience.


We’re proud to provide pediatric dental services along the Colorado Front Range in Lafayette (303.604.9500), Longmont (303.702.9501), and Thornton (303.452.9502). Contact us to make an appointment or learn more about our practice.