Child Ate Toothpaste | Illinois Poison Center 
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My Child Ate Toothpaste

Nov 26, 2020
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This information applies to children who have unintentionally swallowed a small amount. If the child swallowed more than one mouthful, is having symptoms, or if you are not positive of the exact substance or amount swallowed, call your local Poison Center immediately 1-800-222-1222 to speak to a nurse, pharmacist or physician for recommendations specific to your situation. The call is free and confidential.



  • Toxicity Level:  Minimally toxic in a small ingestion (twice the amount used for brushing or less).


  • What It Is:  Most types of toothpaste contain fluoride.  Other ingredients can include sorbitol.


  • Toxicity:  Fluoride can be toxic in large amounts.  Toothpaste contains fluoride in a low concentration, so ingestion of a small amount is unlikely to cause toxicity.  If your child has ingested more than twice the amount used for brushing, call your local Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 for advice specific to your situation.  The call is free and confidential.


  • Possible Symptoms of Overdose/Poisoning:  Nausea, vomiting


  • What You Should Do:  If your child ingested twice the amount used for brushing or less, give the child a few sips of water or milk and observe for nausea and vomiting.  Call the IPC if any symptoms occur.

If your child ingested more than twice the amount used for brushing, or you are unsure how much your child ingested, call 1-800-222-1222.  The poison center expert will ask you a few questions and then tell you if it is safe to watch the child at home or if you need to take him or her to the emergency room.  The call is free and confidential.

NOTE:  If your child has gotten this substance in their eyes, please view our Eye Exposure information.



Additional info re: toothpaste errors.



If you have any further questions about this substance, or if your child is experiencing any symptoms, call the poison center experts who are available 24/7 via the free, confidential helpline: 1-800-222-1222.   Don’t guess, be sure! 



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The IPC is the oldest poison center in the U.S. and serves one of the largest populations of all poison centers in the nation (covers all 102 Illinois counties with a total estimated population of nearly 12.9 million).  The IPC:


  • Provides a variety of free education and presentation materials that can be shared with your community (stickers, magnets, posters, children’s activity sheets, handouts, etc.).  Prior to placing your first order, if you haven’t already done so, please complete the free online Poison Prevention Education Course and Resource Center (PPERC) .  Eligible persons: anyone age 13 years or older living/working in Illinois; general public and healthcare providers alike.



  • Saves lives and improves patient care by working hand-in-hand with hospitals in Illinois to provide expert medical advice to doctors, nurses and paramedics treating patients exposed to potentially harmful substances. In addition, the IPC saves the people of Illinois $60 million annually by resolving 90 percent of poisoning cases from the general public over the telephone, preventing unnecessary 911 calls and visits to a doctor or hospital.  Click here for more information.