Should I use mouthwash for kids?

should I use mouthwash for kids

Should I use mouthwash for kids?

“Dr J how do you feel about mouthwash for kids?” That’s a question we hear quite often from parents here at Alpine Pediatric Dentistry.

In this article, we will break down the key components to consider when deciding if you should add mouthwash to your children’s brushing routine.

One important point we want to start with is: Don’t use adult mouthwash for a child. There is a big difference between adult and mouthwash for kids.

You can also find quite a bit of variety in children’s mouthwashes, for example there are many different flavors. Bubble gum flavor is a favorite among children as opposed to the minty flavors. But one thing that they all have in common, is the active ingredient.

“Always make sure your mouthwash of choice is ALCOHOL FREE. Mouthwashes with high levels of alcohol in them, dry out the mouths of soft tissue and increase bacteria levels.

Active Ingredient in Toothpaste and Fluoride

The active ingredient in mouthwash is sodium fluoride, which happens to be the exact same active ingredient in fluoride toothpaste.

The main difference between children’s toothpaste and mouthwash for kids is the dosage. Kids mouthwash tends to have a third of the fluoride compared to kids toothpaste.

You are effectively using a diluted version so that the child can swish it around their mouth. Mouthwash instructions also instruct not to give to children under the age of 6, so that the child doesn’t accidently swallow it. But when you’re putting a liquid in your mouth, regardless of the age of the child there is always the risk of them swallowing some of the mouthwash.

It’s commonly not recommended to use mouthwash for kids.

So, if the ingredient is the same between mouthwash and toothpaste. And mouthwash instructions are to swish for 30 seconds to a minute, depending on the brand. Then you spit out the mouthwash and don’t rinse, drink or eat for 30 minutes after, so that the fluoride can sit on your enamel. You can just brush your teeth well and not rinse the toothpaste off of your teeth, you will essentially be getting the same benefits, with just one less step. In fact, AAPD recommends children to use toothpaste rather than mouthwash.

“Children under the age of 6 should NOT use mouthwash, unless directed by a pediatric dentist, because they may swallow large amounts”

Other mouthwash features

There are also some mouthwash combination options that have a 2in1 feature, but this type is typically only found in the adults section.

Another feature worth mentioning with some children’s mouthwashes, is that they can stain where there is food or plaque. That helps the child see the areas they need to work at brushing where they may have left some food particles or plaque.

One recommendation we have, is when your children brush their teeth at night, that you don’t rinse the fluoride toothpaste off, just let them go to bed with a thin coating of toothpaste.

For children that are prone to swallowing it’s better to just have them brush well with fluoride toothpaste, spit out the excess toothpaste and leave it there.

If you have any questions or would like to submit a question to Dr J for any upcoming videos please click here.

What is the best kids toothbrush?

choosing the best kids toothbrush
choosing the best kids toothbrush
what is the best kids toothbrush

What is the best kids toothbrush?

Choosing the best kids toothbrush for your child is tough! When you visit the toothbrush aisle at Target or Walmart the variety of toothbrushes there are endless. In this article we will share with you the different types of toothbrushes for children and how to choose the best toothbrush for your child.

One of our favorite products here at Alpine Pediatric Dentistry is the Oral B toothbrushes for kids. They have many different types and for different ages. Oral B has a lot of fun variety and different characters which helps make children excited about brushing their teeth. Which is the goal that all parents are shooting for in helping to get their kids into having good oral health and hygiene.

You don't have to brush your teeth... Just the ones you want to keep 😉

Additionally, what you should be looking at is the size and shape of the toothbrush head. You want to choose a kids toothbrush with a small head so that you are able to maneuver it around your child’s mouth. Next are the bristles, find one that has soft bristles, the softer the better.

At the end of the day, you want a toothbrush your child will find appealing and fun! To break it down here are the key features you also want included in your choice.

  • Small head for maneuvering
  • Soft bristles

Call us to schedule your next dental check-up for your child with our pediatric dentists located in Alpine, CA.

Click here for some other great articles by Dr. J, board certified pediatric dentist at Alpine. You can find the answers to a lot of commonly asked questions regarding your child’s oral health.

If you have any other questions please don’t hesitate to contact us at Alpine Pediatric Dentistry!


Do you recommend toothbrush covers for kids?

Are toothbrush covers recommended for kids
should you use a toothbrush covers for kids

Do you recommend toothbrush covers for kids?

The mouth is home to millions and millions of bacteria. We all want a clean toothbrush; after all it is something that we use in our mouth! And if our mouth has bacteria, it makes sense that it transfers to our toothbrush. So, does a toothbrush cover help or harm our children’s toothbrushes?

A question a lot of parents ask: “Is it ok to use a toothbrush cover and will it help to keep my kids’ toothbrush clean?”

There are different types of toothbrush covers, some are even very cute. And if it encourages children to brush their teeth, then that is a big plus. But you want to make sure that you leave enough time to completely dry the toothbrush before placing the cover on. The moisture that holds in a contained space can inspire the growth of microorganisms, such as yeast, fungi and bacteria.

In this video Dr J answers:
"Should you use a toothbrush cover for your child?"

Toothbrush covers are not ideal to store your child’s toothbrush, due to poor air circulation. Although there might be some brands that have better ventilation. It is fine to use a toothbrush cover when you are travelling, in order to protect the toothbrush from coming into contact with other items that aren’t as clean.

ADA recommends air drying toothbrushes, because a closed container in a moist environment breeds bacteria

How to care for your child’s toothbrush

Here are a few tips that will help to make sure your kid’s toothbrush stays as clean as possible.

  • Everyone in your household should have their own toothbrush, do not share toothbrushes.
  • After brushing thoroughly rinse your child’s toothbrush in hot water. Rinse off all the toothpastes and any debris lodged in the bristles.
  • Store the toothbrush upright and uncovered so that it can completely dry out.
  • Replace your child’s toothbrush every 2-4 months. If your child has been sick then you should replace it immediately.

In addition you should keep up with their routine cleanings, practice good home care, and maintain a clean bathroom.

There are a lot of other good options for your child’s oral health besides using a toothbrush cover.

Click here for some other great articles by Dr. J, pediatric dentist in Alpine. You can find the answers to a lot of commonly asked questions regarding a child’s oral health.

If you have any other questions please don’t hesitate to contact Alpine Pediatric Dentistry!

Fluoride for Kids? Is it recommended?

fluoride for kids
fluoride for kids? is it recommended

Fluoride for Kids? Is it recommended?

Fluoride for kids is one of the most controversial topics we come across in the dental world. A question a lot of parents ask is, “Dr. what do you recommend about fluoride for my child?”

There is a lot of misinformation on the internet, that it can be hard to determine how much or even if fluoride is ok for your child. To clarify, when we’re talking about fluoride, we are talking about toothpaste. And fluoride should be viewed as a different entity and product from shampoo, conditioner etc… Fluoride should be viewed as medication, and just as with any medication, you need to follow the instructions directed in the usage, such as dosing etc…

Too much of any medication is not good for you. You would not give a child the same amount of Tylenol as you would a full-grown adult. With the same measure, fluoride for children needs to be measured and dosed appropriately.

It has been established by countless research that teeth can most definitely benefit from fluoride. The next question is safety, and dosing helps to keep your child safe.

The biggest concern most parents have with using fluoride toothpaste for their children is that kids will be kids and they will more than likely swallow the toothpaste. That is why it is important that when children are brushing their teeth, that there is a parent or responsible adult supervising, you want to make sure they are brushing all areas properly and using the correct amount of toothpaste.

Instructions on fluoride toothpaste for kids

  1. Use kids toothpaste
  • Brand is not important
  • It shouldn’t taste too good or sweet
  1. Dosing
  • Use a pea size amount for a child who is 6 years of age or older. If they swallow it will not be harmful to them.
  • Use half a pea size for a child 3 years or older. Now most kids that age will swallow, but if you dose it correctly, then they are safe.
  • Use a grain of rice size (a smear) for a 1-year-old. At that age they end up swallowing the toothpaste, but since it is such a small amount, they will not be harmed.

In conclusion, fluoride for kids is safe as long as you dose it correctly and it’s used under with supervision.

Here is another good article on what age can your child brush on their own.

Best electric toothbrush for kids

electric toothbrush for kids
best electric toothbrush for kids

Best Electric toothbrush for kids

Tooth brushing is all about technique. And let’s be honest, an electric toothbrush can help you master and define the technique pretty well. Although there are different kinds of electric toothbrushes.

In this article we will explain what the differences are and what is important to look out for when choosing an electric toothbrush for kids.

The two most popular electric toothbrushes are Oral-B and Sonicare. They are both great products and they have some variations between the products. In addition, they each have an electric toothbrush for kids. Oral-B’s version for kids has a picture of Olaf, which is pretty popular.

The most important component to look out for when choosing an electric toothbrush for kids is the shape and size of the toothbrush head. The base of the electric toothbrush is not as important as the head of the toothbrush. Look for a toothbrush head that is relatively small. For the toothbrush to be effective you need a kid-size brush head. Children have less space between their back molars and jaws, so a standard-size or larger toothbrush head would have more difficulty reaching the crevices.

If you look at the two products mentioned above, the Oral-B version has a much smaller toothbrush head size then its rival Philips. A smaller toothbrush head allows you to maneuver around a child’s smaller mouth more effectively.

Electric toothbrushes remove 21% more plaque than a manual toothbrush

Electric versus manual toothbrush?

There is a different sensation and pattern of movement between the various types of electric toothbrushes. For example, the battery-operated products, not only have a larger toothbrush head. But the part that moves, instead of oscillating rapidly, tends to just move back and forth, at a pretty slow pace. Which doesn’t seem that it could actually remove plaque effectively. These types of toothbrushes, do come with a variety of different characters and colors, which are real fun for kids. And that is a big plus, since it encourages children to brush their teeth.

The Oral-B and Sonicare each have their own set of features. For example, Sonicare has an interactive app and Oral-B has its Bluetooth version. Although those features aren’t always the selling point since they do have their connectivity issues. 

After testing each of the electric toothbrushes for kids, we’ve found that Oral-B is the better choice for an electric toothbrush. When taking into consideration the features, effectiveness, and price point.

If you have more questions on deciding whether you should use an electric toothbrush for your child. Or perhaps you would like some techniques and/or tips on brushing for your child, please call us to schedule an appointment.

Dr J has also written this article on whether it is better to use an electric toothbrush for your child.

What is the best floss for kids?

best floss for kids
choosing the best floss for kids

What is the best floss for kids?

Trying to figure out what kind of floss to use for your child can be tough. There are so many options available that it can get confusing in knowing how to determine what is the best floss for your child. We are going to break down the difference between kid flossers and those that are designed for adults.

To be honest there isn’t too much of a difference between floss for children and adult flossers. Flossers for kids can tend to be more colorful and look more appealing to children which can be a big plus, especially in encouraging your child to floss.

But at the end of the day, floss is floss.

Types of Floss

Classic Floss String

Classic floss string whether it be flavored or unflavored is our preferred choice as it is the most effective flosser to use. But for children, especially younger children, it is very difficult to use. A parent’s hand is too big to get into their tiny little mouths especially around the molars.

Floss Sticks

Floss sticks are not typically marketed for children. The pro on these type of flossers is that it is a bit more environmentally conscious, since it has a much smaller plastic head that we have to dispense. Although with children it might be difficult to keep track of where they left it, since it is a bit small.

Angled flossers or floss picks

Angled flossers or floss picks are probably the most popular for kids. There are many different types and brands that you can choose from. When choosing you want to consider the length of the floss itself. It depends on your flossing style, if it’s smaller you have to be pretty precise. Then there is the thickness of the floss, when the floss is thin it can slide between the teeth quite easily. However, the drawback is if a child has close contacts between their teeth, you can accidently jab into a child’s gums which would cause some discomfort. Resulting in perhaps a “pause” from flossing.

In conclusion, find a flosser that works well in you, as a parent’s, hands. It likely can be a flosser with a bit thicker string. It might go down as easy, but you do have more control.

In addition, you may have noticed some fluoride coated flossers, but we haven’t come across any data that would recommend or not recommend these products. It’s up to you if you want to dish out those couple extra bucks for those type of flossers.

Do you have a question regarding your child’s oral health? Click here to submit your question to #AskDrJ


What to do if your child has a knocked-out tooth

sports are the main cause for a child has a knocked-out tooth
sports are the main cause for a child has a knocked-out tooth

What to do if your child has a knocked-out tooth

As we head into the warmer months of spring and summer, the risk of dental trauma injury in kids is a lot higher.  In this article we are going to give you specific instructions of what to do if your child has a knocked-out tooth.

About 90% of all kids’ dental trauma injury involves the upper front teeth, which are the most visible teeth in the mouth. Between the ages of 2-3 are when the most common trauma to baby teeth occurs, since kids are just beginning to walk. As a child gets older, injuries to the mouth in sports become the leading cause of dental trauma. This then becomes more concerning, since a child more than likely has permanent teeth that can be affected. Even if a child does not play sports, they are still at risk for a dental trauma injury, as it can happen any time. Outside of sports, bicycle riding is the leading cause of injuries to the mouth in children.

Click here to download our tooth trauma guide.

If your child has knocked out their tooth, we have a video that shows you what to do for a dental trauma injury to kids.

Just as with any dental injury, please immediately contact your child’s pediatric dentist for professional care. Your child’s pediatrician or the emergency room are likely not properly equipped or experienced in dealing with a tooth that has been knocked out.

First you want to determine with your child’s injury what the extent of the damage.
Is your child alert and stable? If so, then you can focus on the injury to the tooth.
If the tooth is completely knocked out, try to locate it. If you do find it, follow these steps below:

place a knocked-out tooth in saline


place knocked-out tooth in sealed container


place a damp gauze in socket where tooth was knocked-out


contact your pediatric dentist in Alpine


Gently rinse the tooth with milk, saline, water or saliva. DON’T TOUCH THE ROOT OR SCRUB THE TOOTH!

Put the tooth in a container that can be sealed, along with the milk, saline or saliva. DON’T store the tooth in water.

Place over the child’s socket (where tooth was knocked-out) a damp gauze and have them bite gently

Call your pediatric dentist as soon as possible.

place a knocked-out tooth in saline


Gently rinse the tooth with milk, saline, water or saliva. DON’T TOUCH THE ROOT OR SCRUB THE TOOTH!

place knocked-out tooth in sealed container


Put the tooth in a container that can be sealed, along with the milk, saline or saliva. DON’T store the tooth in water.

place a damp gauze in socket where tooth was knocked-out


Place over the child’s socket (where tooth was knocked-out) a damp gauze and have them bite gently

contact your pediatric dentist in Alpine


Call your pediatric dentist as soon as possible.

Studies reveal that 13-39% of all dental injuries in children are sports related

In the US, there are about 30 million children who participate in organized sports every year. Protecting their dental health and wellbeing is a top priority in our office.

While it is more commonly believed that football and hockey are sports that cause the most dental injury. In actuality, baseball and basketball are the sports with a much higher rate of injury for children between the ages of 13-17. Children who are engaged in any contact sport should use a mouth guard to minimize and/or prevent damage to their permanent teeth.

A custom mouth guard can be made by your pediatric dentist. These are typically more comfortable, have better protection and if made by Alpine Pediatric Dentistry can be customized with your sports team’s logo and your child’s jersey number.

If your child has a knocked out tooth, please call our office right away. If it is after hours, you can reach us through our emergency phone number and you can upload photos to expediate your child’s care, by clicking here.

Considering getting your child a custom mouth guard? Click here for more information.

Statistics for Dental Trauma injury in children

  • Sports-related injuries are found highest in males from the ages of 15-17.
  • Children between the ages of 7-11 are at higher risk for a dental trauma injury
  • The most common sports product related to a child’s dental injury are bicycles
  • Dental trauma injuries to baby teeth mainly occur when children are 2-3 years of age
  • Falls are the main cause of dental trauma in kids

What is the best toddler toothpaste?

what is the best toddler toothpaste
what is the best toddler toothpaste

What is the best toddler toothpaste?

We get this question from parents all the time: “Dr  J what kind of toothpaste should my toddler be using?” or “which toddler toothpaste is the best?” The short answer is none. In this article we will explain why and give you tips and ideas of what to use for your toddler’s brushing habits.

We will start by distinguishing the differences between kids toothpaste and what may be called a “toddler” or “trainer” toothpaste. A toddler or trainer type toothpaste are basically the exact same product. They are designed to be used by children who may swallow toothpaste.

A kids toothpaste contains fluoride and advises children not to swallow the toothpaste.

Toddler or Trainer toothpaste?

We do not recommend using either toddler or trainer toothpaste for your young child. And we will explain why that is not a doctor’s recommended choice for your toddler.

Firstly, you will notice that different products will market for 3-24 months while others are marketed for to 3-4 years of age. That difference in age grouping, can be quite confusing. Secondly, the products tend to give the impression that they are natural products and/or are free of sugar, color etc… But what they do not tell you know is what benefits they have for your child. To find out if there are any benefits, you want to look for their “active ingredient”. If you try to find an active ingredient in any of these products you won’t find one.

Trainer or “Toddler” toothpastes have ZERO active ingredients in them

Consider this, you’re giving your 6- or 12-month-old something that tastes good, but that has no benefit to them or their teeth. What the “Trainer” toothpaste is programming your child to think that toothbrush time is “lollipop” time, since it’s only benefit is that it tastes good. When you’re brushing your toddler’s teeth, you want to be training them that toothbrush time is a focused time to stay still, and open wide so that you can see what you need to and remove any plaque effectively.

We know that it can be challenging to remove plaque on a young child’s teeth and we have a video that gives you tips and ideas on how to help you, you can find it here.

In short, we do not recommend using Trainer toothpaste, click here for our suggestions on what type of toothpaste to use for your child.

What is the Best Toothpaste For My Child?

what is the best toothpaste for my child

What is the best toothpaste for my child?

There are so many options to choose from when you’re walking down the toothpaste aisle in Target or Walmart, that it can make choosing a toothpaste for your child an impossible task.

Our focus in this article is on the many different varieties of toothpaste for children and how to make an informed decision in choosing the best type of toothpaste for your child.

1 - Brands

There are so many brands available to choose from, that it can make you wonder, which one is best for my child? We’re going to let you in on a little secret, the brand is not what is important. Just look for that active ingredient: sodium fluoride, if it’s listed there on the toothpaste, you’re good.

2 - Flavors

You can choose from a variety of flavors, although mint tends to not be a favorite for children. And kids with taste sensitivity tend to prefer bubble gum flavored toothpaste. Watermelon and strawberry are also extremely popular toothpaste flavors for kids.

3 - Delivery

Toothpaste can come in classic tubes, tubes that stand upright, containers and pumps. Pumps are a great option because of how they dose the toothpaste.

4- Dosing

Dosing is probably the most important component in toothpaste usage. When brushing your children’s teeth, it is all about using the appropriate dosing (amount) of toothpaste.

A toddler should get a smear (which is about the size of a grain of rice) of children’s, fluoridated toothpaste. Since it is very likely, due to their age, that they will swallow it there will be no harm from that very low dose but it will still be enough to get all the benefits, which will include the hardening of their enamel.

A child who is a bit older can get an increase in the amount of fluoride toothpaste. It can be increased to a pea-size amount once they reach the age of 6. To give you an idea, a child who is 3 years old would use half a pea-size amount of kids toothpaste.

That is why “dosing” of fluoride toothpaste for kids is so important. They can get all the benefits of the fluoride without ingesting too much. You want to make sure that your child’s oral hygiene is getting the priority and care that it deserves.  And choosing the right toothpaste will help in maintaining the healthiest smile possible for your child.

We try to not recommend toothpaste that have great flavors, since children will want to use more and will tend to enjoy the toothpaste flavor instead of brushing and working on getting the plaque off their teeth. There are some toothpastes that are flavor-free, which would be our recommendation to any parent when asking what kind of toothpaste is best for their child.

It is also important to distinguish between “Trainer” & “Toddler” toothpaste, which is not something we recommend. Click her for more information regarding toddler toothpaste.

When it comes to kids’ toothpaste and in distinguishing between kids & adult toothpaste, click here for the video and more information on those differences as well.

Here’s another article with more useful information on choosing the best toothpaste for your child.

what is the best toothpaste for my child