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Can I Keep My Child from Wanting to Eat Toothpaste?

While brushing with toothpaste is essential for keeping your child’s teeth clean and free from cavities, it is important to avoid swallowing it. Ingesting fluoride toothpaste in a small amount is generally considered to be safe. However, large amounts can damage your child’s permanent teeth, as well as causing stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and other health problems.

Here are some tips to help you keep your child from eating toothpaste:

Apply the Right Amount of Toothpaste

The best way you can prevent your child from ingesting too much toothpaste is by applying the right amount to the toothbrush yourself. The CDC recommends not using fluoride toothpaste for children under the age of 2. Children between the ages of 2 and 3 should use a smear of toothpaste no larger than a grain of rice, while children ages 3 to 6 should use a pea-sized amount. Make sure you keep the toothpaste container out of reach of your child at all times.

Practice Spitting

Children need to learn how to spit out their toothpaste, and you need to teach your little one. You can start by going outside and practicing spitting out water. Demonstrate how to do it and offer praise when your child does it right. Turning brushing time into target practice is also a fun way to encourage spitting out the toothpaste. You can use the middle of the drain as the target, or you can place a colorful plastic ring at the bottom of the sink. If your child continues to need encouragement, you may want to offer incentives or tangible rewards when your child spits out the toothpaste.

Switch Your Child’s Toothpaste

If your child continues to struggle with spitting, make sure to use toothpaste without fluoride. You may want to switch to a stronger, mint-flavored toothpaste, rather than one with bubble gum or fruity flavor to discourage eating toothpaste. Be careful, though, because you don’t want to turn your child off brushing altogether.

Model Good Brushing Habits

Children love mimicking their parents, so modeling the desired behavior is an excellent way to reinforce proper brushing. Brush your teeth alongside your child, and encourage brushing for at least two minutes, holding the brush correctly, brushing the tongue, and spitting out the toothpaste when done.

Monitor Your Child When Tooth Brushing

Children, especially those who eat toothpaste when brushing, need constant monitoring. Turning away for a moment provides an opportunity for your child to experiment with and swallow the toothpaste, so make sure not to leave your child unattended while brushing.

When to Seek Emergency Help

Should your child ingest a large amount of toothpaste, call poison control immediately. To prevent emergencies altogether, be there with your child while brushing and keep the toothpaste tube out of reach.

Quality Pediatric Dental Care in Phoenix, AZ

Contact Jet Set Smiles Pediatric Dentistry to learn more about caring for your child’s teeth to ensure healthy, happy smiles. Our exceptional team is committed to delivering quality, gentle care in a kid-friendly, relaxing environment. Call us and schedule your appointment today!

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