Is It Safe for Babies to Swallow Toothpaste?
Whether or not it is safe for babies to swallow toothpaste depends on the baby toothpaste in question as well as the quantity of toothpaste you are talking about.
While we all know that you shouldn’t swallow toothpaste, even if we can’t remember or were never told why, it can be hard to ensure that a baby or toddler doesn’t swallow at least a small amount of toothpaste while you are brushing their teeth.
Why Shouldn’t You Swallow Toothpaste?
The main reason you shouldn’t swallow toothpaste is that most toothpaste contains fluoride. Fluoride is great for strengthening teeth and preventing cavities when used in small amounts. But it can cause a number of problems if larger quantities are ingested.
Problems from swallowing toothpaste with fluoride can include stomach upset, nausea and vomiting, as well as dental fluorosis which causes white spots or lines on the teeth and in some cases, can cause discolouration of the enamel.
How To Prevent Babies Swallowing Toothpaste
Realistically when babies are little there’s not much you can do to stop them from swallowing toothpaste other than telling them to spit and demonstrating how to do it. So in order to stop them from ingesting too much fluoride, you have two options.
Firstly you can choose a fluoride-free toothpaste that is safe to swallow and use this until they are old enough to understand about swallowing. Or secondly, you can ensure that up until the age of three they use only a tiny smear of toothpaste so that if they do end up swallowing a bit it won’t be enough to do them any harm.
It is also important to choose a toothpaste formulated for babies as these will contain less fluoride compared to a toothpaste formulated for older children or adults.
Another tip is to choose a mint flavoured toothpaste even when they are very small as opposed to a fruity flavoured one so there is less temptation for them to want to eat it. Choosing a mint toothpaste right from the start also makes the transition easier when they get older and suddenly strawberry or bubble gum flavour isn’t an option.
Toothpastes That Are Safe to Swallow
While fluoride has been shown to be good at preventing cavities so has good brushing and being mindful of how much sugar kids are having. If you are worried about the potential impact of your baby or toddler swallowing toothpaste due to the fluoride content then the best option might be to choose a baby toothpaste that doesn’t contain any fluoride at all.
There are plenty of toothpaste options available that remove plaque, get rid of bacteria and protect babies teeth and gums without using fluoride including natural toothpaste made by Green People and Jack n Jill.
Next Up: What Age Can a Child Use Normal Toothpaste