Toothpaste is meant for cleaning teeth. However, because some Toothpaste tastes good, some people, especially children, cannot resist swallowing a bit of it.
So, does that mean Toothpaste is meant for swallowing? Is it safe to swallow Toothpaste? Questions like these often flow through the internet and thus would have often crossed your mind as well. Even if you don’t purposely do it, everyone has accidentally swallowed Toothpaste at some point in their life.
Accidentally swallowing a little bit of Toothpaste shouldn’t panic you. However, such accidents happen often, or swallowing Toothpaste purposely is a big ‘NO-NO.’
Is It Ok To Swallow Toothpaste?
Even when your Toothpaste tastes good, it is never ok to swallow it. A toothpaste should be applied to the tooth and spit out once the job is done. Swallowing a little bit of it accidentally isn’t harmful, but a lot of it can lead to several adverse side effects on your body.
The risk of swallowing Toothpaste is majorly associated with children. Kids want to swallow everything, and Toothpaste is one of the primary things among the lot. Almost everyone as a kid would have swallowed Toothpaste purposely. Mistakes like these, once, twice, or thrice would never have shown any adverse effects. However, teaching your kids to ‘Never’ swallow or eat their Toothpaste is always important.
Let’s explore what happens when you swallow Toothpaste.
What Happens When You Swallow Toothpaste?
When you swallow a small amount of toothpaste (pea size), nothing actually happens. You will probably feel a tingling sensation in your throat and food pipe for a little while. As soon as you will drink water, that tingling sensation will settle down, taking no time. However, if you swallow too much Toothpaste, you will end up dealing with some health difficulties.
Swallowing too much Toothpaste (or too often) can increase Sodium Fluoride levels in your blood supply.
The majority of Toothpaste has an active inorganic compound ‘Sodium Fluoride (NaF)’ as its main ingredient. Sodium Fluoride helps decrease the teeth’ sensitivity and prevents tooth decay. It also supports tooth mineralization and helps with the prevention of dental caries. However, Sodium Fluoride is only meant for oral usage. Fluoride is used for internal usage but only in a definite amount and under a doctor’s prescription.
Swallowing too much toothpaste, ‘Fluoride,’ can result in upsetting your stomach, causing nausea and vomiting. Too much Fluoride also leads to white lines or spots on teeth, especially among young kids. Toothpaste containing Fluoride is basically toxic for your internal health when swallowed in a large amount or too often.
So, Is It Ok To Swallow A Fluoride-Free Toothpaste?
No, it is never ok to swallow your Toothpaste purposely, no matter what active ingredient it is. Every toothpaste tube comes with a “Do Not Swallow” warning, and one should take it seriously. Not only Fluoride, but Toothpaste may contain several other dangerous ingredients as well.
Have a look at any toothpaste in the Supermarket, and you will find ingredients including DEA, titanium dioxide, SLS, artificial dyes, sweeteners, and much more.
While sodium fluoride is still one of the toxic ingredients, these extras add more toxicity to your Toothpaste. You can brush with them and spit it all out for safe use. However, if you are swallowing your Toothpaste too often, it is now time to ditch that habit.
Dangers Of Swallowing Toothpaste- Risks Involved
Swallowing a large amount of Toothpaste involves a lot of risks. Especially when your Toothpaste contains Fluoride, Sorbitol, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, SLS, or Triclosan as its main ingredient, swallowing it will lead to some health complications, including:
- Salty, tingling taste in the mouth, throat, and food pipe
- Vomiting and Diarrhoea
- Tremors or uncontrollable shaking
- Breathing difficulty
- Slow heart rate
- Enamel Discoloration (irreversible damage)
Long-Term Effects of Swallowing Too Much Toothpaste
- It can affect brain functioning, leading to mental growth disturbance and behavioral issues.
- It can disrupt your teeth’s outer layer and lead to dental fluorosis. Not just avoid swallowing your Toothpaste, but also avoid using too much of it while brushing your teeth.
- Swallowing too much Toothpaste regularly can also lead to skeletal fluorosis. In simpler words, it can affect your bones and flexibility. In severe conditions, it can also lead to bone fracture, joint pain, joint degeneration, and more.
- It can lead to immune system disturbance.
- It can lead to hormone disruption. Specially Toothpaste with triclosan is known for causing early puberty, disrupting sex hormones, and is also linked with abnormal thyroid hormone production.
- In the worst-case scenario, too much toothpaste consumption can prove Carcinogenic.
What To Do If Your Child Swallows Toothpaste?
If your child has swallowed a little bit of Toothpaste, there’s nothing to worry about. Instead of panicking, teach your kid not to repeat that foolishness again.
However, if your child has swallowed a large amount of Toothpaste, you need to get into action. Leave the panic mode behind and give the kid any containing calcium. Go with milk or yogurt and ask the kid to have it. Calcium binds with Fluoride and thus will help in easing kids’ stomachs from the effect of swallowing Toothpaste.
Once done, ensure you monitor your child for a few hours. Upon noticing any other problem, immediately call Poison Control at (800)-222-1222. Call the Poison Control department in situations when your kid has swallowed a large amount of Toothpaste.
Caution: In case of Fluoride poisoning or toothpaste poisoning, never induce vomit.
How Much Toothpaste To Use For Brushing?
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), here is the recommended amount of Toothpaste according to age:
For kids under 3, take toothpaste the size of a grain of rice. Going with child-friendly Toothpaste is advisable.
For kids 3 to 7, double up the amount of Toothpaste.
For teenagers and adults, pea-sized toothpaste is enough every time you brush your teeth.
PLEASE NOTE: Brushing your teeth twice daily leads to a healthy, shiny, and strong dental structure.
Swallowing toothpaste can have multiple side effects on your body; therefore, it should be avoided to the core. Once or twice accidental swallowing is safe, and there’s no need to panic. However, if you have this troubled habit and are still practising it, leave it right away.
Parents should monitor their kids until the age of 7 to 8 while brushing. Regulate the amount of Toothpaste your kid use and make sure he spits it all out.
Lastly, you can and should use Toothpaste with Fluorides, and that’s completely a healthy practice. Fluoride toothpaste is excellent for your dental health, and there’s no harm until and unless you keep them to your mouth.