Can Toothpaste Be Swallowed?

As a parent, you know the struggles of teaching a toddler correct brushing habits. The constant checking and asking - Are they brushing correctly? Are they reaching all their teeth? Did they do it for long enough? 

And then the dreaded - Is it safe for my kid to swallow toothpaste?

In this blog, we'll go into a deep dive on whether you should be concerned if your child swallows toothpaste, what are the signs to look out for and what are your needed next steps.


What Is Toothpaste Made Of?
What is toothpaste made of

Kids accidentally swallowing toothpaste is normal. Perhaps your little one hasn’t learned how to spit. Or maybe the toothpaste flavor is just irresistibly yummy.

One crucial step to knowing whether this is a cause for concern or not is finding out the ingredients in a toothpaste.

To help you out, here's a list of the most commonly used toothpaste ingredients and what they're used for.



Glycerol is used in toothpaste for several reasons, mainly to prevent it from drying out, to give it a smooth texture, and to make it easier to squeeze out from its tube.

You can also find glycerol in a variety of food products like peanut butter and yogurt.



Sorbitol is a sweetener, often used as a sugar substitute by people with diabetes. But unlike normal sugar, the ingredient does not cause the formation of cavities.

In toothpaste, the ingredient is used both as a sweetener and as a binder.

Calcium carbonate

Calcium carbonate removes stains, plaque, and surface stains from the teeth.

Sodium lauryl sulfate

Sodium lauryl sulfate or SLS is a type of detergent that causes the toothpaste to foam.

What is SLS and can it be harmful?

SLS, even though a very common toothpaste ingredient, can cause a few side effects in some people. These include mouth irritation and canker sores. So if you're one of those people who often have an uncomfortable feeling after every brush, the SLS in your toothpaste might be the culprit.

The most important thing to note is aside from its foaming capabilities, SLS doesn’t necessarily do anything to help clean your kids' teeth and gums - it is solely there to add to the sensory experience.

Although SLS-free toothpaste lacks the familiar foam, it can clean teeth just as well as other kinds of toothpaste that contain this ingredient. If you're looking to switch to one, AutoBrush offers SLS-free toothpaste for both kids and adults.


Fluoride is a type of mineral that is added to toothpaste to help fight and prevent tooth decay.

The mineral also helps make teeth stronger and more resilient against acids.

Many experts agree that fluoride is an unnecessary toothpaste ingredient. For most people, the fluoride added to their drinking water is more than enough.

Here at AutoBrush, we take pride in providing a safe option for customers looking for fluoride-free toothpaste alternative for them and their kids.

Instead of fluoride, our toothpaste uses xylitol, a type of sweetener made from non-GMO corn. Xylitol provides protection against bacteria and cavities without the harmful effects of fluoride.


Is Fluoride Harmful When Swallowed?

Fluoride is interesting for a variety of reasons.

This mineral is essential for the dental health of kids and adults, helping prevent problems like cavities and tooth decay while strengthening tooth enamel.

Seeing as fluoride is already added to the water we drink daily, does that mean it's also safe to swallow toothpaste that has fluoride in it?

That depends on the amount of toothpaste swallowed. Or, as the adage goes, the dose makes the poison.

Dentists discourage people, especially young kids, from swallowing toothpaste because its fluoride content can cause the condition known as fluorosis.

Fluorosis occurs when there is a significant amount of fluoride in the blood. Left unchecked, fluorosis can cause the appearance of permanent white lines on the teeth's surface. And in severe cases, it can cause the teeth to crumble.

Once you get fluorosis, it can't be reverse so avoiding it from happening in the first place is crucial. Kids up to eight years old are the most vulnerable to getting fluorosis so close supervision as advised during brushing.

Swallowing toothpaste for sustained periods can also lower the amount of magnesium and calcium in the body.

🦷 Toothy Trivia: Japan has been using this ingredient as a fluoride alternative for over 40 years now. Find out the answer here

What Happens If Your Child Swallows Toothpaste?

Again, if your child accidentally swallowed toothpaste - don't panic!


It is perfectly normal for kids to swallow a small amount of toothpaste while brushing their teeth. But what happens if they ingest large amounts?


Swallowing a large amount of toothpaste can lead to toothpaste overdose.


Among the most common signs of toothpaste overdose are:

- stomach pain

- weakness

- diarrhea

- breathing difficulties

- drooling

- slow heart rate

- convulsions

- vomiting


Don't panic if you catch your child eating toothpaste or if they show any of these symptoms. Do not make them throw up.


Remain calm and call either your local poison control center or a doctor. While waiting for help to arrive, give your child milk or water unless they exhibit toothpaste overdose signs.


When you bring your child to the emergency room, be ready to provide helpful information. These include:

- your child's age and weight

- the brand of toothpaste swallowed

- the time your child swallowed toothpaste

- how much toothpaste he swallowed.


With prompt treatment, your child can recover within two days after swallowing fluoride toothpaste.



Is Fluoride-Free Toothpaste Safe to Swallow?

Yes! If the toothpaste swallowed doesn't contain fluoride, you do not need to worry much as this type of toothpaste is considered non-toxic.


If you want to skip the stress altogether and switch to a kids flouride-free toothpaste, we recommend the all-natural AutoBrush foaming toothpaste.


AutoBrush Kids Foam Toothpaste 

Why parents and kiddos love it:

⭐️ fluoride-free

⭐️ SLS-free

⭐️ gluten-free

⭐️ vegan

⭐️ non-GMO

⭐️ foam format is easy to apply & rinse off

⭐️ comes in yummy strawberry & bubblegum flavors


With AutoBrush's foam toothpaste, you don’t have to worry if your kid swallows our toothpaste by accident. It's completely safe. However, we do not recommend intentionally ingesting it.


🦷 Toothy Tip: Want to try making your own toothpaste? Check out our DIY recipes here.



How to Encourage Children to Spit Out Toothpaste

Little boy brushes his teeth with baby toothpaste. Care of the oral cavity in childhood, caries of milk teeth Children's toothbrush.. swallowing toothpaste stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

Even with a fluoride-free toothpaste, it's still important to teach your kids to properly spit out toothpaste after every brush to avoid them swallowing an excessive amount of toothpaste.


First, make sure that you put just the right amount of toothpaste. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a pea-size amount of toothpaste is more than enough for kids aged between three and six.


Second, you should always supervise your child while they're brushing their teeth. If your kid is still a toddler, encourage them to hold their head at a slight downward angle. This will help ensure that extra toothpaste drips into the sink.


You can also try turning each brushing session into a game. For example, when it's time to spit out the toothpaste, you can use the sink for target practice.


🦷 Toothy Tip: Found an old tube of toothpaste under the sink? Check out these handy hacks you can do with expired toothpaste.



Final Thoughts…

Teaching a toddler how to brush properly can be a struggle but with the right information and constant encouragement, a little everyday goes a long, long way.

If you have any questions regarding your child's toothpaste, consult with your child's dentist so they can advise on proper practices and best alternatives if needed.


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