Have you or your child ever swallowed a mouthful of toothpaste? There’s no need for real concern. Today’s blog from Parkcrest Dental Group explains why swallowing toothpaste isn’t dangerous but it isn’t ideal and how to avoid it in the future.
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What is Toothpaste Made Of?
There are five key ingredients in all ADA-accepted toothpaste. These are used for health benefits and to make toothpaste actual paste.
- Fluoride. Fluoride is a mineral found in nature, and it fights tooth decay. It hardens the enamel on your teeth, resisting acid and decay. When looking at the ingredients of toothpaste, look for words like “sodium fluoride”, “sodium monofluorophosphate,” and “stannous fluoride.” All of these are recognized by the FDA for cavity prevention. If none of these are on the active ingredient list, then it does not contain fluoride and will not protect you from tooth decay.
- Sorbitol. This acts as a binding agent to hold the toothpaste together. It can also act as a non-cavity causing sweetening agent.
- Glycerol. Along with toothpaste, this compound is found in yogurt and peanut butter because it adds moisture, protecting the food from drying out. It also gives a creamy texture so the toothpaste can move smoothly from the tube.
- Calcium Carbonate. This is an abrasive used to remove plaque, stain and debris from teeth. Calcium carbonate also gives that slick, clean feeling to your teeth after brushing.
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. This is the ingredient that makes the bubbles. While bubbles are fun and make us feel like it’s working, they can cause canker sores for some. If you suffer from canker sores, switch to a toothpaste that is “SLS-free.”
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Symptoms After Ingestion
The main ingredient in toothpaste is sodium fluoride, which is actually a toxin. This is why your toothpaste label says ‘do not ingest’. If someone consumes high levels of fluoride, it can cause several symptoms. However, an entire tube of toothpaste only contains 0.15 percent fluoride. An average adult would have to eat eight tubes of toothpaste for it to be deadly.
However, ingesting a small amount can cause the following mild symptoms:
- Upset stomach
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If you or your child have swallowed toothpaste, the best way to avoid it in the future is by putting less toothpaste on the brush. This reduces the foaming and bubbling, allowing you to spit easier. If you find that your child wants to swallow because they like the taste of their toothpaste (many children’s toothpastes have bubble gum and fruit flavors), switch flavors to one that’s less appealing.
Visit Your Dentist at Parkcrest Dental Group
Brushing your teeth should occur after meals and before bed. When brushing isn’t an option, swish and rinse your mouth with water. As always, be sure and get regular dental checkups and cleanings every six months. Contact Parkcrest Dental Group online or call (417) 887-1220 to make an appointment.