Toddler Ate Toothpaste | What to Do When This Happens

Teaching your toddler good oral practices is crucial as they grow. However, it may come with a price, as they will likely swallow the toothpaste at some point during their learning adventure. As a parent, you may worry once you discover that your toddler ate toothpaste intentionally or accidentally.  


      Key Takeaways

  • Most toothpaste contains low levels of fluoride. However, it can be harmful if consumed in high doses. The immediate effects may include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Over time, they may suffer from tooth decay and dental fluorosis.  
  • If your child swallows toothpaste, determine how much toothpaste they have swallowed. If the dosage is within the recommended range, there is no need to take a trip to the hospital. 
  • Call the Poison Control Centerfor advice if the child swallows toothpaste in large doses. Do not force your child to vomit. 
  • Teaching your child proper brushing habits, such as brushing without swallowing, emphasizes that toothpaste is meant for brushing, not eating.



Dr. Brite has several fluoride-free kids toothpaste options ideal for your child's oral hygiene. Dr.Brite kinds of toothpaste only have natural ingredients, like peppermint oil and calcium carbonate, that strengthen the enamel in your child's teeth. In this guide, we'll look at the side effects of eating toothpaste, what happens when your child swallows toothpaste and how to prevent it. 

Kids with their mom brushing teeth

My Toddler Ate Toothpaste. What Should I Do? 

If your child ate toothpaste containing fluoride, you might want to seek medical attention. But first, it is crucial to determine the amount of baby's toothpaste swallowed

If the child swallowed the recommended amount of a pea size, there is no need to worry as the amount cannot have a toxic effect on their body. 

If the child swallows toothpaste in a relatively large dose, they might experience mild stomach discomfort, vomiting, or diarrhea. The first thing you should do is stay calm. You should then give the child a beverage containing calcium. Calcium binds to the fluoride, reducing stomach discomfort or other unpleasant symptoms. 

However, if your child ate toothpaste that does not contain fluoride, there is no need to worry, as these types are non-toxic. For instance,Dr. Brite's products are high-quality, clinically proven, toxic-free kids oral care products made from carefully selected plant-based ingredients. Our kids' oral care products are fluoride-free, whose key ingredient, hydroxyapatite, is a naturally occurring mineral that protects, whitens, and strengthens the teeth.

If you find your child sucking on a fluoride toothpaste tube and suspect they may have consumed large amounts, you should call the local poison center for expert advice. Experts handling poison may advise you to seek medical attention or recommend home remedies. 

Note: You should not force your child to vomit, whether the child has swallowed small or large amounts, as it can escalate the situation. 

A little girl brushing her teeth

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How Much Toothpaste Is Toxic to a Toddler?

If a 10 kg child swallows toothpaste containing 160mg of fluoride, the result would be lethal. Fortunately, there is only 1.3mg of fluoride in a typical squeeze of toothpaste, making the amount a child swallows nowhere close to the dosage that can cause serious harm.

Although it is advisable to use toothpaste for dental care, it contains fluoride, a chemical that can cause harm to your body if consumed in large doses.

Although the side effects of fluoride are not that serious, when a 10kg child eats toothpaste that contains 50 mg fluoride, they are considered to have ingested a toxic dose. As a result, they may suffer from nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pains, or periostitis. 

 Can a Child Get Sick From Eating Toothpaste?

Yes. a child may get sick if they consume large amounts of fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride in toothpaste contains ions that bind together with enamel ions to create fluorapatite, a substance that protects enamel from cavities. When swallowed, toothpaste ions bind with hydrogen in the stomach to form hydrofluoric acid. The corrosive acid irritates the stomach lining, causing nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. 

Usually, a child is given a glass of milk or yogurt after they swallow toothpaste as the calcium in the milk binds the fluoride to create inert salt that is removed from the body as waste. 

A child may develop a cosmetic condition known as dental fluorosis if they ingest fluoride toothpaste regularly. The condition causes tooth decay and changes in the appearance of tooth enamel, leaving it with permanent cloudy patches and pits. Larger amounts of fluoride over a prolonged period can lead to skeletal fluorosis, a condition that leads to doits, ligament stiffness, and alot of pain

A dad and his child brushing teeth

How Can I Prevent My Child From Eating Toothpaste?

Here are several proper brushing habits you should exercise if your child constantly wants to eat toothpaste.

1. Apply the Right Amount of Toothpaste

The best way to discourage your child from swallowing toothpaste is to apply the right amount when brushing their teeth. According to the American dental association, you should brush your child's teeth using a tiny smear of toothpaste the size of a rice grain if they are less than three years old. Children between three to six years should start with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. 

2. Encourage Spitting and Rinsing

You should encourage your child to spit and rinse between brushes to prevent them from swallowing toothpaste. Spitting ensures no toothpaste goes through the digestive system, while rinsing ensures any toothpaste residue is removed from the mouth. 

Consider making brushing your child's teeth fun by introducing a gargling game to encourage spitting. Keep a glass of clean water by the sink and play the game severally between brushes. Insisting on spitting and rinsing reinforces the idea that swallowing toothpaste is wrong.

3. Switch to Minty Toothpaste Flavors

Most children-friendly toothpaste comes in candy-like flavors that make it tempting for children to swallow toothpaste. To prevent the temptation, switch to a minty flavor or any other taste that may not be appealing enough to eat. However, exercise caution, as switching to fluoridated toothpaste with powerful flavors may discourage your child from brushing.

4. Brush Together With Your Child

Consider brushing your teeth with your child, as they will likely imitate your actions. Make it fun by playing a little song or imitating their favorite character to keep them interested.

Ensure you brush your tongue, spit and rinse, and brush for more than two minutes as your child likely follows what they see at this age. Also, consider usingDr. Brite electric toothbrush, as it cleans hard-to-reach spots and removes plaque effectively.

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Brushing together will also help you apply the pea-sized amount your child needs. You will also keep the fluoridated toothpaste away and prevent them from swallowing and causing unnecessary panic. 

5. Exercise Patient

Your child is just learning and exploring new things; hence they might want to swallow toothpaste just out of curiosity. The phase will pass, and your child will outgrow the behavior. However, ensure the child is supervised and offered the right amount to prevent ugly situations.

A girl brushing her teeth


1. When Should a Child Start to Brush Independently?

Your child should start rushing independently around the age of 6. However, you should supervise and guide them to ensure they brush hard-to-reach areas and don't swallow toothpaste. With time, they will perfect the skill, and you can even introducemouthwash after brushing for an extra dose of protection. 

2. How Do I Choose the Right Toothpaste for My Child?

If you are worried that your child may eat toothpaste while brushing, choose a fluoride-free brand such as Dr. Brite, as they contain ingredients derived from plants, making them safe options for your little one. Even if your child swallows a large amount of toothpaste, you will be at peace knowing it is toxin-free.

3. How Do I Make My Child Brush Their Teeth?

To make brushing fun and enjoyable, choose sweet flavors such as strawberry for your child's teeth. For instance, kids' mineral bundles-strawberry sky from Dr. Brite has sweet strawberry flavors that leave an appealing taste in the mouth.

4. Should I Rush to the Hospital Once My Child Swallows Toothpaste?

You should not rush to the hospital if your child swallows toothpaste, as swallowing toothpaste should not be treated as an emergency. However, you should seek medical attention if the child is experiencing prolonged nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. A calcium-based snack can help alleviate stomach discomfort depending on the amount of toothpaste they ate. You can also call the Poison Control Center for treatment advice.