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We all know how crucial instilling the importance of good oral hygiene is in children, but when should you start progressing with the levels of their teeth and mouth cleaning? 
Parents are taught to brush their children’s teeth as soon as they poke through the gums, but when do you need to progress to mouthwash and flossing? 
There are lots of child-friendly dental products on the market these days packaged in colourful, eye-catching ways and filled with sweet and fruity flavourings to encourage children to be more thorough when they brush their teeth (or even brush in the first place!). 
It is recommended that children are introduced to toothpastes from infancy (when that first tooth makes its appearance) but it is recommended that mouthwash is not used until the age of six years old. This is because mouthwash, like toothpaste, contains fluoride to kill the bacteria in the mouth that is linked to tooth decay but too much fluoride can cause fluorosis. This is a largely cosmetic condition where white or brown spots form on the teeth, or the surface of the teeth becomes bumpy. Luckily this condition can be prevented by making sure your child doesn’t swallow too much fluoride. This is why it is recommended that children under the age of six years old should not use mouthwash. 
When your child reaches six years old and you decide to integrate using mouthwash as a part of their dental hygiene routine, it is very important that they are supervised in order to ensure that they do not swallow the liquid. The idea of swilling a liquid around their mouth will be quite alien to a small child, hence the danger of them swallowing the liquid. You can test if your child is ready to progress to mouthwash by asking them to take a sip of water, swill it around their mouth and then spit it into the sink. If they manage this, then it is worth considering moving to mouthwash. You can turn using mouthwash into a fun game, like brushing their teeth, by using songs and even a timer to help engage them in the activity. 
By incorporating mouthwash into your child’s (and your) dental routine you are boosting the effects of brushing and flossing (when they get to that stage). Mouthwash is especially good at dislodging trapped morsels of food that might be stuck in between teeth making sure that your child’s mouth is squeaky clean. This is particularly useful is your child wears braces, which can be very tricky to clean thoroughly. 
We recommend that you speak to us before progressing to using a mouthwash as a regular element of your child’s dental care regime as it is not an essential part of cleaning your mouth. Here at Fourways Dental Surgery, we are always happy to help and advise with every element of your child or children’s dental health. This is why we recommend that you introduce your children to visiting the dentist as early as possible so that they know that it is not an experience to be nervous or frightened about. 
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