How Much Toothpaste Do You Swallow In A Lifetime

Toothpaste is an essential part of our daily dental health and oral hygiene routine. But have you ever thought about how much Toothpaste you ingest over the course of your lifetime?

While brushing our teeth, a small amount of Toothpaste may unintentionally be swallowed. Kids, however, swallow Toothpaste out of curiosity or as simpler as they love the taste. While it is considered safe in small quantities, long-term consumption of Toothpaste may have health implications.

This article will explore the amount of Toothpaste typically ingested and the potential health effects of swallowing Toothpaste.

Amount Of Toothpaste You Swallow In A Lifetime

Humans swallow a lot of Toothpaste, intentionally or accidentally.

On average, an individual swallow nearly 150 to 180 grams of Toothpaste annually. This could be more or less from individuals, but kids likely swallow more of it.

Simultaneously, an average individual swallows 23 to 28 pounds of Toothpaste in their lifetime.

*This does not take into consideration everyone since not every individual use toothpaste. Additionally, not everyone using Toothpaste swallow it (even) accidentally.

Amount Of Toothpaste Humans Use In A Lifetime

On an average lifetime of 70 years, Humans use 240 to 260 tubes of Toothpaste.

Amount of Toothpaste Kids And Adults Should Use 

Although you’ve been brushing your teeth for years, you might not be using the right amount of Toothpaste. Yes, people tend to overuse Toothpaste, assuming it will benefit them more often. However, when it comes to the amount of toothpaste you should use, ‘Less is More’.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), kids until the age of 3 should use only a smear of toothpaste/ size of rice grain. ADA suggests limited exposure to Fluoride, Triclosan, and other such activities to kids. In addition to the amount and ingredients of Toothpaste, you should also supervise the kid while brushing their teeth.

*While introducing your kid to dental care and oral hygiene, dry brushing is an ideal start. While the kid has got just a few teeth, use a dry brush for cleaning. You can gradually add a smear of Toothpaste (As per your dentist’s recommendation).

For adults above 3 years, ADA suggests a pea-sized amount of paste. The suggested toothpaste amount is for every time you brush your teeth (ideally twice a day).

Is it OK to swallow Toothpaste every day?

Swallowing Toothpaste once in a while accidentally while brushing your teeth is OK. A small amount of Toothpaste, if ingested, is generally considered safe.

However, swallowing large amounts of Toothpaste or swallowing it regularly over a long period isn’t safe. If you are the one doing so, you are perhaps investing in adverse health effects.

Toothpaste, most commonly a lot of them contains two major compounds: Fluoride and Triclosan. Both of these ingredients are known for preventing cavities and making your teeth strong. However, ingestion of Fluoride in large amounts or frequently can result in toxicity. Ingesting too much Fluoride (via Toothpaste) can lead to the following:

  1. Too much Fluoride intake leads to Fluorosis. It is a condition that causes discoloration and mottling of the teeth.
  2. Excessive fluoride intake results in Gastrointestinal problems, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  3. Excessive fluoride intake can lead to weakened bones and joint pain.
  4. High levels of Fluoride can affect the nervous system and cause symptoms like tremors and muscle weakness.
  5. Fluoride ingestion can interfere with the functioning of the thyroid gland.
  6. Ingesting/ Swallowing Fluoride in high doses can cause reduced fertility and developmental problems in fetuses.
  7. Excessive fluoride intake can increase the risk of bone fractures.

Simultaneously, Ingesting too much Triclosan (Via Toothpaste) can result in the following:

Triclosan is an antibacterial agent present in a range of Toothpaste. It is safe and beneficial for your dental care but not ideal for ingesting. When swallowed, it may lead to:

  1. Hormonal imbalances interfere with the body’s natural hormonal processes. Ingestion of Triclosan in high amounts can also disrupt the balance of testosterone and thyroid hormones.
  2. According to some studies, Triclosan can lead to developmental and reproductive toxicity: studies have shown that exposure to Triclosan during development can cause harm to the reproductive system and impair normal growth.
  3. Excessive ingestion of Triclosan can lead to Antibiotic resistance. The antibacterial agents in this compound can contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, making it more difficult to treat infections in the future.
  4. Individuals may experience reactions to Triclosan, including skin irritation, rashes, and other symptoms.

Tips to Avoid Swallowing of Toothpaste

  • Spit after brushing instead of swallowing it.
  • Rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after brushing to remove any remaining toothpaste.
  • Use a pea-sized amount of Toothpaste, and it can reduce the likelihood of swallowing it. Individuals who swallow Toothpaste more often are likely to use a higher amount of Toothpaste.
  • Be attentive while you are brushing your teeth. It isn’t very obvious to get into accidents where you would swallow Toothpaste daily.
  • Switch your Toothpaste to one with a mild taste and no foaming agents. Such Toothpaste is likely to be swallowed.
  • Pay attention while brushing and be mindful of how much Toothpaste you have in your mouth and avoid swallowing it.
  • Switch to Dry brushing once a day. While brushing your teeth at night, use a wet brush without Toothpaste. However, do follow the routine with floss.

By following these tips, you can reduce the amount of Toothpaste you swallow and minimize any potential health effects.

Can I Swallow Mouthwash?

While small amounts of mouthwash may not cause immediate harm, swallowing large amounts frequently can have negative health effects. Swallowing mouthwash is not recommended, as many of them contain alcohol and other potentially harmful ingredients.

The alcohol and antimicrobial agents in your mouthwash can be toxic if swallowed. It may lead to dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. It, in fact, can disrupt the natural balance of bacteria in the gut and cause digestive problems.

It’s best to avoid swallowing mouthwash and to rinse your mouth with water after using it.

Wrapping up…

It is estimated that the average person swallows a small amount of toothpaste per brushing session. Over a lifetime, this can add up to a significant amount.

It is generally safe to swallow toothpaste due to its low levels of active ingredients. However, only accidental ingestion that too very less often is acceptable. One should refrain from swallowing toothpaste despite how many clean ingredients it has. Remember, toothpaste is meant for dental care and not for eating or ingesting internally. Once you are done with your dental care routine, spit out the toothpaste instead of swallowing it. However, speak with a dentist if you still have concerns.

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