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The 7 Best Kids’ Mouthwashes, According To A Pediatric Dentist

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Young girl rinsing mouth in the bathroom
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Kids aren’t the world’s best tooth brushers (understatement of the year), so you may be looking for something beyond just some novelty toothpaste to protect their pearly whites from cavities. Mouthwash offers a quick and easy way to freshen breath, swish away missed food particles, and strengthen teeth. The best kids’ mouthwashes do all of the above while tasting great, which goes a long way in motivating littles to use it daily. Scary Mommy reached out to pediatric dentist Dr. Erin Issac to learn what to look for in a children’s mouthwash — and when it’s safe for them to use it.

The Expert

Dr. Erin Issac is a board-certified pediatric dentist at Winning Smiles in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in neurobiology and physiology from the University of Maryland, College Park, and went on to earn her Doctor of Dental Medicine in Dentistry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. Dr. Issac earned a certificate in pediatric dentistry at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. She is a member of the American Dental Association.

When Can Kids Start Using Mouthwash?

The American Dental Association (ADA) does not recommend mouthwash for children under the age of 6 due to the risk of accidental swallowing.

Dr. Issac recommends ensuring your child can “reliably spit it all out into the sink on their own.” She suggests practicing with water first to see how they handle swishing and spitting and to “always supervise young kids when using mouthwash to make sure they aren't swallowing it.” She recommends that kids use mouthwash once or twice daily once they’re able to safely spit. You can try using a timer to make it fun and help kids hit the 1-minute mark.

Dr. Issac has a genius hack for kids who would otherwise swallow mouthwash: “You can pour a little bit onto the toothbrush after brushing and wipe it across the teeth instead of having your child rinse and spit.”

Should I Choose Kids’ Mouthwash With Fluoride?

While mouthwashes aimed at children don’t generally contain alcohol, many do contain fluoride. Ingesting too much fluoride can cause dental fluorosis (discoloration of the teeth) and issues like an upset stomach. That said, the ADA does recommend that children use fluoride in dental care products — including mouthwash — when the risk of swallowing is not an issue, since fluoride has been proven to help prevent tooth decay.

Dr. Isaac echoed that sentiment: “Fluoride mouth rinse is great for all kids that can rinse and spit. The extra fluoride really helps to protect teeth from cavities.”

But if you have a younger kiddo who is still inclined to swallow the “yummy” mouthwash, you’re likely going to need fluoride-free. You’ll want to look for a rinse containing xylitol, a sugar-free sweetener with plaque-busting benefits. Dr. Issac adds, “Xylitol can be helpful in mouthwash as it helps to inhibit overgrowth of bad bacteria.”

With all that in mind, it’s time to make some space next to your toothbrush holder: From unique flavors in fun bottles to brands with an easy-dose cup, we rounded up the best mouthwashes for kids below.

1. The Fan Favorite: An ADA-Approved Mouthwash With An Easy-Squeeze Cup

Highly rated with a whopping 27,000+ reviews, this American Dental Association-accepted mouthwash prevents tooth decay and strengthens teeth while banishing morning breath. It’s formulated with fluoride but without stinging alcohol. The bottle features an easy-squeeze bottle with attached cup that helps kids (or you) to accurately measure out the right amount. The pineapple flavor is sure to be a hit with your kiddos, but it also comes in other flavors including watermelon, bubble gum, and grape.

Helpful Review: “My kids never have to be told to use this mouthwash! They love the blue color and the fun colored packaging, they LOVE the pineapple punch flavor and I love that it doesn't make a huge mess when they need a pour with the handy squeeze. This one is difficult to find in stores for us, so I love that I can have this on [Amazon]!”

2. A 3-Pack Of Dye-Free Mouthwash In A Kid-Approved Strawberry Flavor

This fluoride mouthwash hits the perfect balance of protecting teeth and freshening breath while tasting great. Many reviewers say this is the only mouthwash their kids like, which may be due to the natural flavoring which is made using real strawberry, lemon, orange, mango, and pineapple juice. Free of artificial dyes, sweeteners, preservatives, and alcohol, this vegan mouth rinse is an all-around kid and parent favorite that motivates kids to swish.

Helpful Review: “Great at reducing stinky morning breath. Plus, it has a very mild taste that my picky kindergartener doesn't complain about :).”

3. A Fluoride-Free Mouthwash For Younger Kids

This xylitol-based mouthwash is perfect for younger kids still learning proper mouthwash techniques because it’s specifically formulated to be safe if swallowed. It has added calcium to help strengthen teeth while the neutral pH-balanced rinse prevents bacteria from sticking to teeth. It’s free of sugar and artificial sweeteners, alcohol, and parabens. It uses plant ingredients like echinacea, aloe vera, marigold, thyme, and chamomile to soothe irritated gums. Plus, the bubble gum flavor is sure to get little ones excited to use it regularly.

Helpful Review: “Even my SUPER picky 4 year old loves it. So proud he gets to use mouthwash like mommy and daddy. Also great I don’t have to worry if my 2 year old swallows some while swishing. Only problem was the kids hated waiting for the one minute Timer to buzz letting them know it’s time to spit out so now we do the ‘mouthwash dance’ around the house and going the full minute is no problem now!”

4. A Budget-Friendly Kids’ Mouthwash With A Fill Line For Just The Right Amount

If you have multiple kids at home, you know how fast a bottle of mouthwash can be used up. This affordable, kid-friendly fluoride rinse from Amazon Basics is perfect for stocking up. It has a fill cup at the top which is then poured into the cap to help measure out the right amount. It’s notably alcohol free and parents say their littles — especially those that don’t like mint — love the mild “not spicy” bubblegum flavor.

Helpful Review: “My daughter was happy to see that this brand had the squeezable fillline dispenser. She was also happy with the taste and gave a thumbs up. Would buy again for the price and taste.”

5. A 4-Pack Of Kids’ Mouthwash With A Child-Resistant Cap

This fluoride mouthwash protects against cavities, is alcohol-free and comes in a fun Strawberry Rush flavor that appeals to kids who aren’t a fan of mint or bubblegum. Reviewers rave about what a great deal this multipack is compared to buying in-store. While it doesn’t have the squeezable dosing cup like some other brands, it does feature a child-resistant cap to keep kids safe.

Helpful Review: “My kids always love trying new things, and if there is something to help keep their teeth clean I will try it. It's a great flavor, my kids like it and have used it every night since getting these. They couldn't wait to try it. They said it doesn't burn like some of the mint flavored ones and still makes their mouth feel fresh and clean. Great value for your money and comes in a colorful fun package that your kids will like.”

6. A Fruity Children’s Mouthwash For The Minion-Obsessed

Say “poopaye” (goodbye) to kids resisting using their mouthwash and “bello” (hello) to cavity prevention they’ll actually enjoy. This fun bottle will help motivate the Minion lovers in your home! This bubble fruity fluoride mouthwash is alcohol-free, fights bad breath, strengthens enamel, prevents cavities, and helps kids swish away anything they missed while brushing.

Helpful Review: “This is the only mouthwash I can convince my son to use. And hey! Who am I to argue? Seems like it cleans out his mouth fairly decent, and his breath definitely improves. The minions on the bottle also help.”

7. The “Unicorn” Of Natural Kids’ Mouthwash

The only brand that promises their product isn’t tested on unicorns, this fun bubble gum-flavored fluoride mouthwash is also vegan and made without alcohol. The ingredients are free of dyes, triclosan, artificial flavors or sweeteners, and SLS. Another thing to feel good about: The bottle is made of 100% post-consumer recycled materials. Love it? Try the matching ADA-approved Unicorn Sparkle Toothpaste!

Helpful Review: “My kids love this product and every other flavor of this brand. I wanted them to get a little fluoride since they don't receive it with their water. It smells like strawberry flavored bubble gum and the kids love it. I haven't had any issues with them trying to swallow it and I'm glad I got it because I am trying to instill good oral hygiene with them. I bought the matching toothpaste which they love too. Overall great buy!”

Also Nice: These Shatter-Free Kids’ Bathroom Tumblers

Need kid-safe cups for their new mouthwash routine? These are the perfect choice thanks to being BPA free, made of soft silicone (no shattering when dropped!) and dishwasher safe. Keep in mind these small cups hold 3 ounces, so you’ll need to measure out the correct amount of mouthwash.

Helpful Review: “​​Great size, quality and sturdiness. Adorable colors.”

Expert:

Dr. Erin Issac is a board-certified pediatric dentist at Winning Smiles Pediatric Dental Care

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