What Happens if You Swallow Toothpaste

Toothpaste on toothbrush

What happens if you swallow toothpaste? The question has probably crossed your mind at some point, perhaps even after accidentally swallowing some yourself. While there’s generally no need to panic over a swallowed pea-size amount of toothpaste, it’s good to know what could happen after swallowing a large amount. Let’s explore what happens when you swallow toothpaste, and why non-toxic toothpaste can be considered a safer alternative.  

Dangerous Toothpaste Ingredients 

Most of the toothpaste you see on supermarket shelves contains controversial ingredients like artificial dyes, DEA, titanium dioxide, fluoride, SLS, and artificial sweeteners. As a result, many people have started to approach commercially available toothpaste with a bit of caution. 

Fortunately, we no longer have to worry about toxic triclosan. Unfortunately, sodium fluoride is still deemed a poisonous ingredient. Fluoride, along with some of conventional toothpaste’s other ingredients, may cause a range of symptoms when swallowed. 

What Happens When Toothpaste is Swallowed

Swallowing small amounts of toothpaste is generally considered safe. However, when consumed in large amounts regularly, a tube of conventional toothpaste can be responsible for a variety of symptoms—ranging from minor to pretty scary. 

Over an extended period of time, if someone were to swallow a significant amount of toothpaste, it could result in stomach pain or worse, intestinal blockages. With toothpaste that contains fluoride, other symptoms could also appear. These include:

  • Drooling
  • Salthy, soapy taste in the mouth
  • Vomiting
  • Convulsions
  • Shock
  • Tremors
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Heart attack
  • Slow heart rate

What should you do if you swallow toothpaste? If a large amount has been swallowed, seek immediate medical help. The toll-free Poison Help hotline (1-800-222-1222) is a good first place to turn. They’ll likely need to know the following about the individual who swallowed toothpaste:

  • The individual’s condition, age, and weight
  • The name of the toothpaste product (and/or the ingredients)
  • The time the toothpaste was swallowed
  • The amount that was swallowed 

Unless told to do so by a healthcare professional, DO NOT turn to vomiting to expel the toothpaste. Water or milk can generally be consumed after swallowing toothpaste, but not if the person is having symptoms like convulsions or vomiting that make swallowing difficult. 

What Happens if You Swallow Toothpaste While Pregnant?

But what happens if you swallow toothpaste while pregnant? This question played an important part in Terra & Co.’s story. When Amra was pregnant, the daughter growing inside of her prompted her to look for safe, non-toxic toothpaste. 

Why? Well, it’s estimated that more than 232 chemicals found in the mother’s environment can reach her baby. And if you’ve ever seen a warning on a toothpaste label, you may connect the dots and wonder if dangerous ingredients may affect your child. 

While the jury’s still out regarding the influence of swallowed toothpaste for pregnant women, many mothers-to-be prefer to play it safe. Conventional toothpastes simply contain ingredients that aren’t totally necessary, and often aren’t worth the risk. 

When to go to the ER

This is especially the case as smaller bodies may be harmed disproportionately by toothpaste ingredients. Small children who swallow a lot of fluoride-containing toothpaste may need to go to the emergency room. There, their vital signs will be monitored and blood and urine tests may be performed to assess the impact of the toothpaste. 

In some cases, activated charcoal may be administered to limit how much of the poison is absorbed into the digestive tract and stomach. 

Ironically, the way activated charcoal works to support someone who’s ingested poison is similar to why it’s such an effective ingredient in all-natural toothpaste. When it comes to how charcoal toothpaste is made, it’s valued for its binding, absorptive properties in toothpaste—just like it is with poison. The safe, all-natural ingredient works like a sponge, providing a place where toxins and bacteria can bind and be expelled by the body. 


Benefits of Charcoal ToothpasteLess Risky Alternatives 

We don’t know about you, but we’d rather have activated charcoal and its detoxifying, teeth whitening properties in our non-toxic toothpaste—not used to save us after swallowing too much potentially toxic toothpaste. 

We can still have a clean mouth and whiter teeth without having to turn to ingredients that have been linked with harmful outcomes. For example, Brilliant Black Toothpaste is made with recognizable ingredients—never SLS, artificial colors and flavors, added preservatives, and parabens. This company got its start by looking for safe toothpaste, and now Terra & Co. wants to pass along a safe, supportive smile to you.

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