Introducing your children to mouthwash when the time is right can help them enjoy healthy teeth and gums throughout their lifetime. Timing is the key factor. According to the American Dental Association, children under the age of six should not use mouthwash unless their dentist recommends it for a specific reason. That's because young kids tend to swallow too much of it.
Kids between the ages of 6 and 12 should use mouthwash under adult supervision. Don't let them skip this step, or they may be at risk. The National Institutes of Health reported that a majority of children in developed countries have gum disease. That's a frightening statistic. Follow these tips to help your kids embrace the use of mouthwash as part of their daily routine.
Talk to Your Kids About Mouthwash Regularly
Having an open dialogue with your kids about mouthwash is important. They need to learn the benefits of swishing with mouthwash every day. Some mouthwash benefits you may want to discuss with them include:
- Prevention of plaque buildup on the surface of the teeth
- Decreased incidents of tooth decay
- Removal of particles from between the teeth
- Reduced risk of gum disease
- Improved bad breath
Children also need to know the risks of swallowing too much of the substance. Since swallowing too much mouthwash can be harmful, that conversation needs to happen over and over again. You should always supervise kids using mouthwash until you trust they are old enough to handle the daily habit on their own.
Model Ideal Dental Care Habits
Make dental care a team effort each night. Brush, floss, and swish with mouthwash in front of your children. They can better learn proper techniques from emulating how you care for your teeth. They may also be inspired to see how you embrace dental care as a regular part of your routine. After all, no one prompts parents to brush their teeth before bed!
Encourage your children to take care of their teeth whenever you do. That makes it easy to supervise their use of mouthwash and ensure they don't swallow any of it. It also helps you correct any ineffective ways they may be caring for teeth.
For example, if your children aren't brushing all their teeth, you can demonstrate how they should be brushing to reach all the surfaces on their teeth. If they aren't swishing their mouthwash for long enough, ask them to swish at the same time you do. If they seem to grow tired of swishing, remind them not to stop until you do.
Bring the Fun Factor to Swishing With Mouthwash
Some children will like mouthwash more when you buy it in tasty flavors made just for kids. However, kids will appreciate when you go the extra mile to make it fun by employing a little creativity.
For instance, consider setting up a reward system that's customized to each child. Grab a pack of star stickers in each child's favorite color. Also, buy a simple calendar you can print online or get at the dollar store. Place each child's star on a calendar date when they swish with mouthwash. Once a certain number of stars are accumulated, give the child a reward.
You don't have to go overboard with the rewards. Children will probably respond just as well to a simple reward activity like extra TV time as they would a more expensive treat like going to the movies.
Play one-minute songs to help kids stay entertained while easily tracking how long they should brush. Alternately, you may make up silly songs yourself while timing the minute on your phone.
Finally, encourage your kids to ask questions. To achieve optimal dental health, children should learn the importance of brushing, flossing, swishing with mouthwash, and regularly seeing a dentist. Contact the caring team at SunDental to make an appointment for any members of the family. We care about each of our patient's dental health and overall well-being.