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What to do When Your Kid Eats Toothpaste

added on: January 6, 2016
smiling young girl with missing front tooth

We love it when our patients visit and it clearly shows they’ve been following a great at-home, hygiene routine. It shows that the kids are invested in their oral health and may even find brushing and flossing, dare we say it, fun. But sometimes, kids enjoy brushing a little too much, or to be more specific, enjoy the actual toothpaste too much.

At our Long Island pediatric dental practice, we occasionally hear about patients who like to snack on flavorful toothpaste. And we can understand why. Toothpaste designed for kids often tastes like bubblegum, cotton candy, strawberry, and even bacon. While swallowing a bit here and there isn’t typically a concern, if it becomes a habit and a lot is ingested, it could lead to some unwanted side effects.

What Could Happen

Some of the ingredients in toothpaste are unsafe if swallowed, although are safe if used for their designed purpose of brushing. Consuming a large amount of toothpaste may taste good to your child at the time, but trust us, it could lead to some unpleasant symptoms including:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Soapy/Salty taste in the mouth
  • Weakness
  • Slow heart rate

If a particularly large amount of toothpaste is swallowed, it may be necessary to place a precautionary call to poison control to seek advice. The National Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) can be called from anywhere in the United States.

Tips to Help Stop the Habit

All of us at our Long Island pediatric dental office encourage our patients’ parents to follow the tips below to decrease the chance of their children eating toothpaste and experiencing negative side effects.

  • Use the right amount of toothpaste each time — the size of a pea is about right
  • Keep the tube out of the reach of children
  • Monitor brushing
  • Switch to a less tempting flavor
  • Brush with your kids to show them the right way

If you need more advice on how to help keep toothpaste on teeth and out of tummies, or your child is in need of a Long Island pediatric dentist, give us a call today!

Accepting patients from Long Island, Westbury, Nassau County, and surrounding areas.