My 5 year old has started to swallow the toothpaste after brushing.
Is this healthy? How can I get her to stop?
Of course all toothpastes are safe and swallowing them isnt very dangerous,
but you should discourage your child from this habit.
It is important to realize that kids today have many sources of fluoride.
Besides toothpaste there is probably fluoride in your drinking water,
fruit juices, sodas and even some bottled waters. Overall this is
good, because fluoride does prevent cavities, but you can have too
much of a good thing if your child is swallowing the toothpaste.
Too much fluoride may cause a condition known as "fluorosis". If this
continues, it can cause permanent tooth blemishes, which are usually
brown, yellow or chalky white. The tooth enamel can become pitted,
rough and hard to clean.
These blemishes can treated by esthetic dentistry, but it is much better
and easier to prevent the problem from ever beginning. Swallowing
too much toothpaste on a regular basis is an avoidable cause of
fluorosis. Only use a pea size amount of toothpaste for kids less
than six years old and encourage them to spit out any excess toothpaste.
Be sure to discuss fluoride with your family dentist. They are probably
familiar with the amount of fluoride in your drinking water and
can suggest steps to make sure your child is getting the proper