1. Ask your dentist: Always talk to your dentist before starting a fluoride regimen. Mouthwash is one source of fluoride, but there are many others including toothpaste, varnish, gels, supplements and even tap water. Your dentist will be able to guide you regarding their recommendations.
2. No rinse for kids under age 6: Again, ask your dentist, but as a general rule, no fluoride mouthwashes or rinses until after age 6.
3. Supervise kids age 6-12: When your child is old enough for a fluoride rinse, you MUST supervise! Make sure they swish thoroughly (for about 30-60 seconds) are careful not to swallow the rinse.
4. Swish and spit but don’t rinse: Rinsing with water after using the fluoride will wash it off of your teeth before it has a chance to do its job. So after you spit it out, do not rinse.
5. Don’t eat or drink for 30 minutes after rinsing: As with #4, it is important to let the fluoride remain on the teeth for about 30 minutes, undisturbed, or the fluoride will not be as effective.
There are many kinds of fluoride mouthwashes and rinses on the market. You may need to try a few different flavors and brands before you settle on one that the kids like (and doesn’t dye your sink hot pink or neon blue). We are big fans of Tom’s Maine Juicy Mint in our house because the kids like the taste and there are no added dyes!