How to Prevent Your Child from Eating Toothpaste

how to prevent your child from eating toothpaste - colgate sg


For some children, brushing their teeth can be more than a good hygiene practice; it can be an opportunity to snack on some tasty toothpaste. Children's toothpaste often tastes like bubble-gum or candy, so the temptation to eat toothpaste can be considerable. While swallowing a small amount of toothpaste is generally considered safe, ingesting large amounts can cause stomach pain, possible intestinal blockage or other problems, according to the National Institutes of Health in the US.



Here are some tips that might help children break the habit of eating toothpaste:



The best way to prevent your child from eating toothpaste is to apply just the right amount to their toothbrush yourself, while keeping the container away from them when they are not brushing their teeth. Try placing it in a high cabinet out of their reach or locking it away with other medicines.



You should also ensure that your child spits out the toothpaste instead of swallowing it each time they brush and that they thoroughly rinse their mouth with clean, fresh water afterwards to remove the toothpaste residue. The amount of toothpaste used in brushing is safe to swallow, but this will reinforce the idea that toothpaste is not meant to be eaten.



Switching to a stronger, mint-flavoured toothpaste, rather than candy-flavoured varieties might also discourage the eating of toothpaste. Be careful, though. Stronger flavours are more suitable for older children, as younger children can be so put off by a strong mint taste that they refuse to brush or use the toothpaste at all.



Another recommendation is for you to brush your teeth alongside your child. Encourage them to imitate you so that they can develop good habits, such as brushing for at least two minutes, holding the brush at the correct angle, brushing their tongue, and spitting out the toothpaste when they're done.



Finally, be patient with your child. The desire to eat toothpaste is likely to be just a passing phase in your child's life that they will outgrow. Should your child consume a large amount of toothpaste, however, call the emergency hotline listed on the toothpaste tube or contact a poison control centre immediately.


This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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How to FLOSS

  1. Pull 18 to 24 inches of dental floss from the floss dispenser.

  2. Wrap the ends of the floss around your index and middle fingers.

  3. Hold the floss tightly around each tooth in a C shape; move the floss back and forth in a push-pull motion and up and down against the side of each tooth.

How to BRUSH

  1. Place the toothbrush at a 45°angle along the gum line. Move the toothbrush in a back and forth motion, and repeat for each tooth.

  2. Brush the inside surface of each tooth, using the same back and forth technique.

  3. Brush the chewing surface (top) of each tooth.

  4. Use tip of brush to brush behind each tooth — front and back, top and bottom and up and down strokes.

  5. Be sure to brush your tongue to remove odor-causing bacteria.

Don’t brush off your oral health

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Last updated: 30 August 2019