Of all the poisons parents keep in their house, toothpaste would never come to mind. That’s right, toothpaste. We frequently get questions from parents wondering why this item is listed as a hazardous substance to children. Here’s why. The active ingredient in nearly all toothpaste is some form of Sodium Fluoride, a toxic poison. About 1% of toothpaste contains this compound.
Even though it’s a small percentage, it is still enough to cause serious problems if overdosed. This is the reason they tell you on the tube to contact poison control if more than what is used for brushing is ingested. It’s also the reason why swallowing even the small amount used for brushing can give kids a tummy ache. This poses an even greater threat, because the flavored pastes, complete with sparkles, that children are used to putting in their mouth can be mistaken for actual candy.
Candy today takes a lot of forms, so you can easily see how some children could get confused. Depending on the age and weight of a child, ingesting even as little as half of a tube could be fatal. Consider toothpaste among one of the more dangerous things you keep in your house, and keep it in a locked cabinet at all times. If you have older children in the house, clearly explain the danger it poses to their younger siblings, so they can help keep it away as well.
Children over three are old enough to be told about the danger it can pose. Just explain that, although very good for our teeth , it is not good for out stomachs. Let them know that swallowing any more than just what they use for brushing means bad business, and they should never eat it like candy. If you believe a child has ingested more than what is used for brushing, call poison control immediately. Their new national number is 1-800-222-1222.