Did you ever swallow toothpaste when you were a young child? Well, large numbers of children probably continue doing so but this practice can have serious health consequences. What makes swallowing toothpaste potentially dangerous to children is the fluoride in many of the popular brands of toothpaste and the danger of fluoride toxicity.
Some of the symptoms of fluoride toxicity include excessive saliva, upset stomach, watery eyes, and heart problems. There is even the possibility of a coma. Other potential consequences of fluoride toxicity include teeth that become discolored and pitting of the tooth enamel. This condition is called dental fluorosis.
The Colgate-Palmolive Company places the following warning on their website regarding the use of toothpaste and young children:
If you have a child under 6, put only a small smear or pea-sized amount of toothpaste on his or her toothbrush and encourage him or her to spit rather than swallow after brushing. Avoid toothpastes with flavors that may encourage swallowing. Keep all fluoride-containing products (toothpastes, mouthwashes, etc.) out of the reach of young children.
Crest tubes from Procter and Gamble carry the following warning:
Keep out of the reach of children under six years of age. If more than used for brushing is accidentally swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away.