What Happens if You Swallow Toothpaste | Our Actionable Guide

Have you ever wondered what happens when you swallow toothpaste? While consuming a pea-sized amount of toothpaste is not a cause for alarm, it is crucial to be aware of the potential implications of consuming a significant amount. Find out what the effects are when you do not spit out after brushing or taste the flavor for the fun of it.


      Key Takeaways

  • Toothpaste typically contains sodium fluoride, which is toxic when swallowed.
  • Toothpaste is not harmful when you swallow it in small doses. 
  • The side effects of excessive fluoride exposure are dental fluorosis, skeletal fluorosis, fluoride poisoning, neurological problems, and thyroid imbalance. 
  • If you accidentally swallow excessive fluoridated toothpaste and start experiencing the side effects, you should contact poison control immediately.



Fluoride toothpaste options are ideal for you and your child's oral hygiene. Fluoride is a vital ingredient in most toothpaste which helps protect against tooth decay and remineralize the enamel. However, there are concerns about the possible side effects of ingesting it. 

At Dr. Brite, we strive to produce plant-base toothpaste with hydroxyapatite instead of fluoride that are free from any toxins. Our ingredients are plant-based, fluoride-free, and have been tested for purity.

Putting toothpaste on a brush

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What Happens If You Swallow Toothpaste; the Side Effect

It's usually safe to swallow in small amounts. However, a toothpaste tube contains only 0.15 percent fluoride. To be fatal, an adult must consume the equivalent of eight tubes. 

The following are the side effects of fluoridated toothpaste consumption:

Dental Fluorosis

Dental fluorosis is not a disease and will not negatively impact your oral health despite the pejorative connotations the term may evoke. Instead, it describes the faint white spots that can appear on the teeth after too much fluoride consumption during childhood.

Such markings appear only on teeth that are yet to break through the gums. It cannot affect adult teeth or those that have erupted through the gums. The tooth enamel discoloration it causes is permanent but not harmful, so it's best to avoid it by avoiding swallowing too much toothpaste.

Fluorosis is more common in children under the age of 8. Therefore, it is vital to monitor children while brushing their teeth to prevent them from swallowing toothpaste. You can quickly determine the appropriate amount of toothpaste to use at different ages by following this simple guide:

  • Younger than two years: You can use a tiny smear about the size of a rice grain.
  • Two to six years old: Use a quantity slightly smaller than a pea.
  • Six years to adulthood: You can use a pea-sized amount.

Excessively fluoride levels can also develop spots or white lines on the teeth in children eight years of age and younger. Cosmetic treatment is available however, the damage is irreversible. The teeth may erode under extreme circumstances.

Dental Fluorosis

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Skeletal Fluorosis

Skeletal fluorosis, a condition of the bones and joints, can develop if a person consumes too much fluoride-containing toothpaste. The effects of this disease are much more unpleasant than the damage done to their enamel.

Skeletal fluorosis causes bones to harden and become less elastic, increasing the likelihood of bone fractures. Joining mobility issues in the joints are another possible result of the excess bone tissue that skeletal fluorosis causes.

Fluoride Poisoning

Consuming large amounts of fluoride all at once can lead to poisoning. Some of the symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling 
  • Convulsions
  • Heart attack
  • Eye irritation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Shallow breathing
  • Irregular or slow heartbeats

The effectiveness of treatment is proportional to the amount of fluoride consumed and the speed with which it is delivered. A person has a better chance of recovering if they seek medical attention more quickly.

Neurological Problems

High fluoride intake during pregnancy will result in developmental delays in some children. An indication of this is the correlation between high fluoride exposure and IQ decline. Epidemiological studies indicate that fluoride is a neurotoxin that impairs the intellectual development of children.


Thyroid Imbalance

Damage to the parathyroid gland, which may result in hyperthyroidism, is another likely outcome of prolonged exposure to fluoride. Hypothyroidism indicates a deficiency in the production of vital hormones by the thyroid. Fatigue and hair loss are two typical symptoms of this condition. 

Bone problems are another possible consequence of hypothyroidism, as calcium deficiency can make bones more fragile and prone to breaking and fractures.

Can Swallowing Toothpaste Burn Your Throat?

Toothpaste is an essential everyday product we use. However, have you ever considered the possibility that using toothpaste could be harmful to your throat? When you swallow toothpaste in excess, your throat will likely get burnt.

You may be wondering why toothpaste burns your gums or your throat. Individuals may have different causes of these burns, and allergic reaction is one of them.

However, one of the primary causes could be that the toothpaste is unsuitable for you. Therefore, you must examine the ingredients before purchasing toothpaste. Doing so could prevent an allergic reaction as well. 

Flavoring agents and some chemicals like pyrophosphate cause lesions and burning sensations in the throat and mouth. If your child swallows toothpaste in excess, too, it will trigger burning sensations due to the chemicals and toothpaste flavors. Dentists recommend that individuals use only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste when brushing their teeth.

A man brushing his teeth

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Is Fluoride in Toothpaste Safe To Ingest?

Sodium fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral in drinking water and some foods and is beneficial to dental health. However, consuming large amounts of it could result in negative symptoms. All drinking water contains trace amounts of fluoride to help prevent cavities and tooth decay.

Fluoride helps to maintain your teeth's enamel strong, prevents the growth of bacteria, and aids in the prevention of tooth decay when taken in the correct dosage. However, larger doses, particularly when combined with ingredients in conventional toothpaste, might be unpleasant for your stomach. 

Your child should not have any problems even if they ingest some toothpaste when brushing their teeth. However, excessive fluoride consumption will result in the child experiencing detrimental effects on teeth by creating dental fluorosis, inducing skeletal fluorosis, and bone deformation.

Why Do Kids Eat Toothpaste?

Toothpaste typically has bubble gum and fruit-like flavor to spark their interest and encourage children to use it. The flavor and images of children's favorite cartoon characters on the package might make the product enticing to children. 

However, it would be best to train them not to swallow or eat toothpaste.

If a child ingests excessive amount of kids toothpaste, they may have minor gastrointestinal problems, such as nausea.Sorbitol, a common sweetener in their toothpaste, may have a laxative effect.

A family brushing their teeth


1. Will Swallowing Toothpaste Hurt You?

No, swallowing toothpaste cannot hurt you unless you eat more than a pea-sized drop. However, if you or your child consume large amounts of toothpaste, you will get hurt because of the increased fluoride levels resulting in stomach aches. Avoid its consumption by spitting out when brushing your teeth and rinsing your mouth after. 

2. How Much Toothpaste Can Hurt a Child?

A child consuming more than a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste can hurt them. It may cause intestinal blockage and stomach pain. Make sure that they use it as directed in the instructions.

3. Can Swallowing Toothpaste Make You Vomit?

Yes, swallowing toothpaste makes you vomit due to its accumulation, causing minor gastrointestinal issues. Fluoride may also irritate the stomach, resulting in nausea and diarrhea. There is a minimal risk of a child experiencing anything more severe than temporary stomach upset from eating toothpaste.

4. How Do I Stop Swallowing Toothpaste?

You can stop swallowing toothpaste by spitting it out while brushing and thoroughly rinsing your mouth with water. You can also use fluoride-free toothpaste if you worry a lot about consuming it, especially for kids. Children like to copy what you do, so you can train them to spit by letting them watch while you brush. 

5. What Should You Do if You Swallow Toothpaste?

Take water, yogurt, or milk if you swallow a large amount of fluoride toothpaste. However, if you experience any symptoms, call a medic for guidance.