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How Do I Choose the Best Kids' Mouthwash?

Daniel Liden
Daniel Liden

Adding mouthwash to a child's daily dental hygiene regimen can help promote good dental health, prevent cavities and plaque buildup, and combat bad breath. Many types of mouthwash, however, have harsh or intense flavors, and some even contain ingredients that could be harmful if swallowed. As such, one must use care when attempting to choose the best kids' mouthwash, as failure to do so could lead to discomfort or illness. Factors to consider include the overall purpose of the mouthwash, desired fluoride content, and alcohol content — many forms of mouthwash are actually marketed as kids' mouthwash and take these factors into consideration. It also is important to note that, though kids' mouthwash can be helpful and generally is safe, consulting one's dentist before choosing may be a good decision.

First of all, it is important to pick a mouthwash that fits the needs of the child who will use it. Some forms of kids' mouthwash are made only to combat bad breath and do little or nothing to kill bacteria or to prevent the buildup of dental plaque. Others serve both as breath fresheners and antiseptics, and contain substances that kill the bacteria responsible for dental plaque, gingivitis, and other dental conditions. Still others have high levels of fluoride, which can help to combat tooth decay. Some considerations in this area include the fact that kids' mouthwash that is only intended to fight bad breath likely won't be effective in fighting plaque or tooth decay, and fluoride mouthwash can be harmful to those who already get sufficient fluoride though their drinking water or toothpaste.

Kids' mouthwash.
Kids' mouthwash.

There are many health concerns associated with mouthwash, particularly with its improper use. Many types of mouthwash contain high levels of alcohol, which can be harmful if ingested, particularly by children. Furthermore, fluoride mouthwash can cause serious illness if a significant quantity of it is swallowed. When choosing the best kids' mouthwash, then, it is important to keep these concerns in mind. It may also be beneficial to supervise a child's use of such mouthwash in order to prevent improper use.

A dentist is a good resource for learning about the best mouthwash for a child.
A dentist is a good resource for learning about the best mouthwash for a child.

Any substantial change in one's dental hygiene practices can, of course, have unexpected side effects. It may be best to consult a dentist before allowing a child to start using kids' mouthwash. In some cases, it is simply unnecessary, while in others it can actually be harmful. Choosing the right type of kids' mouthwash is absolutely essential, and a dentist may have valuable input to offer about the various available options.

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Discussion Comments


Do kids really need to use mouthwash? Does anyone really need to use mouthwash for that matter? I always figured that if you brushed and flossed you were set as far as oral hygiene went. Mouthwash was just another product for drug companies to sell you.

Maybe I'm wrong though. My kid's dentists has never mentioned mouthwash before but I have also never discussed it with him. If someone has some compelling evidence that kids should use mouth wash I would like to see it.


Of course you want to buy a mouth wash that will clean your children's teeth and eliminate bacteria. But I think the most important thing to consider when buying mouthwash for kids is the flavor. Lets face it, it's already hard enough to get kids to take care of their teeth. If they don't like the way the mouthwash tastes they will probably not buy it.

I buy my kids a line of mouthwash that is made just for kids. It comes in fruitier flavors like grape and cherry rather than the traditional harsh mint. I think it tastes gross but they seem to like it and they use it just about every night. That is the important part.

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    • Kids' mouthwash.
      By: design56
      Kids' mouthwash.
    • A dentist is a good resource for learning about the best mouthwash for a child.
      By: Pavel Losevsky
      A dentist is a good resource for learning about the best mouthwash for a child.