Is it Safe to Give My Kids Breath Freshening Products?

mouthwash bottleBad breath is not uncommon in children. Sometimes it stems from poor oral hygiene habits (such as inconsistent brushing) and sometimes it is caused by other, outside forces (such as congestion issues). No matter the case, parents with kids who suffer with bad breath often wonder if over-the-counter breath freshening products (such as mouthwash, breath mints, breath strips, and sprays) are safe for use. We’re here to give you the inside scoop on all of these products.


According to the American Dental Association, mouthwash that contains fluoride should never be used for children under the age of 6. This is mostly due to the high potential that the child will swallow the mouthwash instead of spitting it out.  If you have children over the age of 6, there are many mouthwashes that are suitable and even designed for children.  However, always check the label to see if there are age restrictions listed.

Breath Strips

The biggest concern with breath strips is that there are now several over-the-counter medications that come in similar packages. This includes melatonin strips and nicotine patch strips. There have been several reported instances of children taking strips that they believe are breath strips and ingesting these other medications – often giving them to their friends in the process. While breath strips themselves are not hazardous to children, it is recommended that you do not encourage your children to use them.

Breath Sprays

Many breath sprays contain alcohol or sugar substitutes in them, which is not good for your child’s oral health. If you want to use a breath spray, make sure that you pick an alcohol-free formula.

Breath Mints

The biggest concern that comes from breath mints is the potential choking hazard. Mints should never be given to children who don’t have the capacity to suck (or chew) and swallow. You also don’t want to give your children mints that contain sugar, as they can actually exacerbate the problem of smelly breath.

Better Options?

If your children suffer from bad breath, the best thing to do is ensure that they are regularly brushing and flossing. It also helps to make sure that they drink plenty of water throughout the day. If breath problems persist, talk to your dentist or doctor to see what might be the underlying cause.  Your dentist/doctor will be able to tell you if there are larger issues (such as tonsillitis or sinus infections) that need to be addressed.