What Happens If You Swallow Toothpaste?

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Medically reviewed by Othman Lahmaydi, RDH

Toothpaste is an essential product in any household. Both adults and children use it daily, but sometimes people swallow toothpaste. If you are worried about swallowing toothpaste, you are in the right place. Everyone should avoid swallowing toothpaste because it can be harmful to your body.

Swallowing a small amount of toothpaste isn’t harmful, but a large amount can cause gastrointestinal problems, nausea, vomiting, and dental fluorosis. Prevent your kids from swallowing toothpaste by keeping the tube out of their reach and telling them the side effects of eating toothpaste.

You should know the consequences of swallowing a large amount of toothpaste. If your children end up swallowing toothpaste, what should you do? If you want to know, let’s find out!

Why Shouldn’t You Swallow Toothpaste?

Father and kid son brushing teeth

Brushing your teeth twice a day is essential for the health of your teeth. But what if you swallow toothpaste? Is it harmful to your body? Not only children but adults can also end up swallowing toothpaste accidentally. The taste of the toothpaste might seem good, but it isn’t good to swallow it.¬†

Here’s why:

Toothpaste contains a lot of fluoride, which keeps your teeth healthy and shiny. But ingesting that much fluoride elevates fluoride levels in your blood. Fluoride is present in our blood in small amounts. Too much fluoride is detrimental to your stomach and teeth. 

Ingesting a small amount of toothpaste isn’t a big issue, and it won’t cause any harm to your body. But if you keep ingesting toothpaste daily, that’s where the problem starts. Therefore, you should teach your kids to avoid ingesting toothpaste so their health isn’t compromised. 

What are the Symptoms if You Swallowed Too Much Toothpaste?

Fluoride is considered a toxin and treated as a poison if taken in large quantities. Therefore, you need immediate medical attention if you or your child has ingested too much toothpaste. Triclosan, also present in toothpaste, is harmful if taken in a large amount since it’s an antibacterial/antifungal and causes allergic reactions if ingested.¬†

Knowing the symptoms of swallowing too much toothpaste is necessary so that you can get timely help. Below are the most common symptoms!

Nausea and Vomiting

The first symptom of swallowing too much toothpaste is nausea and vomiting. Anything from mild nausea to severe vomiting can occur due to ingesting toothpaste, depending upon the amount taken. This will not only upset your stomach, but frequent vomiting also damages the teeth.

Diarrhea

If the toothpaste reaches the stomach, it can upset it and cause diarrhea. Diarrhea can be severe or mild, but it should be treated properly in both cases. It can cause pain in the stomach as well.

Dental Fluorosis

Ingesting too much toothpaste frequently can cause dental fluorosis in children. It appears as white streaks and faint lines on the teeth. It is a cosmetic condition that ruins the appearance of the teeth.

Other symptoms of swallowing toothpaste include:

  • Convulsions
  • Tremors
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Soapy burping
  • Weakness 

What Should You Do if Your Child Swallowed Toothpaste?

Has your child swallowed toothpaste, and you don’t know what to do about it? Don’t worry. We have got you covered!

Depending upon the amount of toothpaste your child has ingested, you can take different measures for this issue. 

A Small Amount

It isn’t a big issue if your kid has ingested only a little bit of toothpaste while brushing their teeth. You don’t need to worry about it. In this case, tell the kid to rinse their mouth correctly. Also, keep the child hydrated to prevent any stomach discomfort. 

A Moderate Amount

If you think the child has taken more than a small amount of toothpaste, it can end up causing mild gastrointestinal problems.

Use something with a high calcium level to prevent stomach aches, such as a cup of milk or a bowl of yogurt. This will prevent discomfort and cancel out the effects of toxins present in the toothpaste. 

A Large Amount

It is only harmful when your child swallows a large amount of toothpaste. If you find your child eating a lot of toothpaste from the tube, the first thing to do is call the Poison Control Helpline – at (800)-222-1222. They will advise you on proper treatment.

Don’t panic in this situation and avoid making the child vomit forcefully. Instead, keep the child hydrated and calm them down too.

How Can You Prevent Your Child From Swallowing Toothpaste?

It is vital to prevent your child from swallowing toothpaste to avoid unnecessary problems. Yummy flavors in toothpaste can tempt the kids to swallow it. You can follow the tips below to prevent your child from swallowing toothpaste!

Keep it Out of Reach of Children

Always assist your children while they are brushing their teeth. Don’t hand them the toothpaste to use on their own. Instead, take a small amount out of their toothbrush by yourself. After brushing the teeth, store the toothpaste where they can’t see and reach it. 

Brush Your Teeth with the Kids

Family In Bathroom Brushing Teeth

Kids love to do exactly what their parents do. So, brushing your teeth with your kids is better because they will rinse and spit out the toothpaste after brushing. Keep on reminding them that they are not supposed to swallow any amount of toothpaste. 

Tell them the Consequences

Tell your kids that swallowing toothpaste can cause stomach problems and damage their teeth. Kids learn quickly, so you should tell them the consequences of swallowing toothpaste from the start.

Final Thoughts

Now you know what to do if you or your children swallow toothpaste; you can prevent the harmful side effects of ingesting toothpaste.

A small amount of toothpaste isn’t detrimental, but you should teach your kids not to swallow it. If they keep on ingesting toothpaste, it can be harmful to their stomach and teeth as well. 

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