Should you be worried if your child swallows toothpaste? You may have seen the warning label on the tube instructing you to contact Poison Control if your child has ingested it. While you may be quick to panic and worry for your child’s wellbeing, arming yourself with knowledge of what to do beforehand can save you a hospital visit. So, let’s talk about what to do if your child swallows toothpaste.

What Should you do if Your Child Swallows Toothpaste?

If this happens to your child, the best thing you can do is remain calm. Contact Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 for treatment advice and they will ask you questions to determine the best course of action. Keep the toothpaste tube at hand so they can see if any of the ingredients are a cause for concern. 

Once you tell the Poison Control specialist the specifics of your situation, they may make recommendations such as giving your child a snack containing calcium like yogurt or cheese. The calcium works to counteract the impact of fluoride on the gastrointestinal system and may alleviate discomfort. The specialist will calculate the dose of fluoride or other ingredients present in the toothpaste and tell you exactly what steps to take. 

What Happens if Your Child Swallows Toothpaste?

Your child may experience mild stomach discomfort due to the fluoride in the toothpaste such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. When consumed in small amounts, accidentally swallowing toothpaste shouldn’t cause any major problems. Fluoride must be consumed in large amounts for it to have a serious effect in most cases. In large amounts, however, fluoride can lower the amount of calcium and magnesium in the body, which are important minerals for healthy body functioning. 

Despite toothpaste generally being safe, it is still considered medicine and should be treated as such. However, it is very unlikely that accidentally swallowing toothpaste will cause you harm.

Age Appropriate Tips for Brushing Teeth

Regardless of age, all children need to brush their teeth at least twice a day and floss once a day to prevent cavities and gum disease. Monitor your child until you are sure they can correctly brush their teeth on their own. Also be sure to have your child visit the dentist every six months so we can monitor their development and help your child maintain good oral health.

From about age one or whenever your child’s first tooth erupts, gently brushing with no toothpaste is advised. It prevents baby bottle tooth decay, which is when kids go to sleep with a bottle in their mouth and bacteria from the juice causes decay in the teeth or gums. Try not to allow your kid to fall asleep with a bottle in their mouth to prevent this from happening.

From ages 2-5, we recommend using a pea-sized amount of fluoride-free kids toothpaste. This kind of toothpaste is intended to help your child learn safe brushing habits. One of these important habits to work on is spitting out the toothpaste. 

Tell your child that even though the toothpaste may taste good, they need to spit it out in the sink because it is not food and it is not good for their bodies. Guide your child on how to properly brush their teeth during this time. Once they are able to spit consistently after brushing, you can switch your toothpaste to one with fluoride. 

Kid-friendly Dentist in the Louisville, KY Area

Are you looking for a kid-friendly dentist in the Louisville area? You are in the right place! We love working with kids and teaching them healthy dental habits here at Breckenridge Dental. We offer a welcoming and comfortable environment for your child and are dedicated to giving them a smile that lasts a lifetime! If you have questions about your child’s oral health, call us at (502) 451-5222 or request an appointment. We’re happy to serve as a resource for you as you teach your child to maintain proper oral health habits!


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