Fluoride mouthwash has been shown to be effective at preventing cavities in kids, adolescents, and young adults in a recent study.  A large study by the Cochrane Health Group followed over 15,000 patients between the ages of 6 and 14 from 1965 and 2005.  Patients were randomized into three categories: those who used a fluoride mouthwash, those who used a placebo rinse, and those with had no mouth rinse treatment.

The study found that children who used a fluoride mouthwash had a 27% less in decayed, missing, and filled tooth surfaces among permanent teeth, as compared to those children who did not use a fluoride mouthwash.  The study was supervised in schools, and kids were instructed to use Sodium Fluoride (NaFl) 230ppm or 900ppm.  Those who used the sodium fluoride were instructed to rinse either daily, weekly, or every 2 weeks.

The principal investigators of the Cochrane Health Group found that fluoride mouthwashes also benefit children who regularly use fluoridated toothpaste or reside in areas with fluoridated drinking water.  The study concluded that regular use of a fluoride mouth rinse, either daily, weekly, or once every 2 weeks, had a decrease in tooth decay/cavities in their permanent teeth.

A number of fluoridated mouthwashes are available over the counter and do not need a prescription.  There are quite a few products marketed towards the consumer; any generic store or consumer brand that is geared towards kids is more than sufficient.  It is the opinion of Dr. Chien to carefully look at the rinse’s ingredients to make sure that is does not have alcohol (so as to avoid mouth and gum dryness) and that the rinse contains sodium fluoride.

So the next time you and your children visit your family dentist for the 6 month dental checkup and cleaning appointment, be sure to inquire about over the counter fluoride rinses and their benefits!