Q: Good evening, Dr ketch. You are so wonderful. I enjoy your programme. My 2-year old boy swallows toothpaste when I am brushing his mouth. He always refuses to rinse his mouth too. Please what is the side effect of this?
A: Thanks for writing in about this very common mistake that a lot of mothers, unknowingly allow their children to make. So, you’re not alone 😀
The main reason why it’s not a good idea to swallow toothpaste is because of the fluoride in it. In small quantities, fluoride is great for teeth and prevents tooth decay by becoming part of the structure of developing teeth and by covering the surface of the teeth when it comes in contact with it. However, excessive amounts can lead to dental fluorosis, a situation in which there whitish splotches on the teeth and in really bad cases, black and brown staining of teeth with crumbling of the enamel. Other conditions associated with too much fluoride include, skin rashes and even fluoride poisoning which can show up as stomach pain, nausea, vomiting etc.
How do you stop this from happening?
First you have to make sure that you put only a small amount of paste on the toothbrush (pea-size…like the size of a corn seed). This reduces the amount of foam formed, and thus reduces the amount of fluoride the child can swallow.
Go for children’s tooth paste as they use smaller amounts of fluoride
Then be sure to supervise your child’s brushing from 2 years (when they able to spit) to 6 years to ensure that they brush well and that they spit out. You must also ensure that the mouth is rinsed, otherwise all that fluoride will be swallowed.
Remember that caring for your baby’s teeth starts even before the first tooth sprouts. At this time, a wet wash cloth wrapped round your finger does a great job of cleaning your baby’s mouth and gum.
As the teeth sprout, use a baby tooth brush and ‘barely-there’ (teensy-weensy amount of) toothpaste to clean baby’s teeth.
Have a great night, y’all 😀