Cavities in Very Young Children

Dear Dr. Ellie: 

What do you think about the safety of these ingredients for a 2 year old:

Benzyl Alcohol, Calcium Disodium EDTA, Cetyl Pyridinium Chloride, Disodium Phosphate, Flavor, Poloxamer 407, Polysorbate 80, Propylene Glycol, D&C Red 33 (CI 17200), Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Phosphate, Sodium Saccharin, Sorbitol, Water

 – D

Hi D,

Young children under the age of 6 usually have a tough time rinsing and spitting out – so they end up drinking liquids. 

This is why children under the age of 6 are NOT instructed to use a mouth rinse. If (or when) young children begin using a rinse, parents should watch them carefully to ensure they spit out well.

The ingredient list you sent me looks like the ingredient list for ACT mouth rinse.
I wish that many of these ingredients were not in ACT rinse: colors, preservatives, dyes and sweeteners – so don’t give this to a child to drink!

On the other hand, if your child has damaged teeth, this rinse will be a good help to strengthen weak enamel. The rinse should be put (one drop) onto a toothbrush and brushed onto the damaged baby teeth, to protect them. Xylitol granules or ZellieBears should also be used – sipped or eaten during the day.

The reason for using ACT rinse in this way is to avoid a sealant and/or a filling.
Fillings have a lot more toxic ingredients – and stay in your child’s mouth for years.
The balance of need vs. concern about the ingredients = our decision to use this product for a young child.

A two year old with beautiful teeth does not need more than a little xylitol each day.

More information can be found on this topic and more at:

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