View Full Version : Spitting vs. Swallowing (Toothpaste, that is...)

09-17-2001, 10:34 AM
I've swallowed my toothpaste rather than spitting it out ever since I learned how to brush. Whenever anyone notices or hears about this, they seem horrified and point out that it's "bad for you" but can't back up the claim. From what I have seen of most people, I seem to be much healthier than average at almost 30 years of age.

Am I a freak? Does swallowing toothpaste have some ill effect later in life? Could it possibly be helpful?

Any shared wisdom would be appreciated,


Duck Duck Goose
09-17-2001, 10:56 AM
Yes, if you're under the age of 6, the excess fluoride can make both your baby teeth and your permanent teeth grow in with brown mottled spots on them.


So, how old are you? :D

09-17-2001, 10:58 AM
The flouride in toothpaste is meant to be absorbed topically by your teeth. If you swallow it, you could end up with too much flouride in your system. This can cause flourosis, which is discoloration and spotting on the teeth, which is cosmetically undesirable but isn't really a health problem.

It's also possible to get flouride, but you'd have to swallow lots, like a whole tube at a time, which would most likely make you vomit right away anyhow.

If your teeth are still pearly white, you're probably okay--but if you have kids, don't let them do it. Their low body mass makes them more succeptible.

Here's a statement from the ADA:


09-18-2001, 03:26 PM
Originally posted by 4allpracticalporpoises
Am I a freak? Does swallowing toothpaste have some ill effect later in life? Could it possibly be helpful?Well, the foaming agent in the toothpaste is an irritant and can cause diarrhea - that's why we tell younger folks not to swallow it.

See the explanation (http://snopes2.com/toxins/shampoo.htm) from the good folks at snopes.

09-18-2001, 03:33 PM
Well, even supposing there are no medical consequences, it's just plain icky! Why would you want to swallow plaque and bits of rotting food when it's just as easy to spit it out? ewww ...

American astronauts use a specially formulated toothpaste which is swallowed after use. You might want to look into that.

09-18-2001, 07:14 PM
slight hijack here...
I don't swallow the toothpaste, but I spit it out then rinse my mouth several times with water. This, I thought is what you're supposed to do to rinse out the nasty stuff that you brushed off your teeth. But during some times in my life (camp, college, etc) I've noticed some people just spit out the toothpaste and no rinsing. My husband does that by the way. or USED to do that before I told him "that's disgusting! I'm not going to kiss that unrinsed toothpasty mouth!"
But now that I think about it, are you NOT supposed to rinse because it will rinse off the fluoride? Or does it depend on how long you brush your teeth? I brush for about two minutes, is that long enough for the fluoride in the toothpaste to absorb, so then it's OK to rinse?
Or am I just overthinking this whole thing? Probably.


09-18-2001, 10:14 PM
All I know is that the back of the toothpaste tube suggests that I call the poison control center if I ingest it. Thus, it's probably better to be safe than sorry. And by sorry, I mean dead.

09-18-2001, 10:23 PM
Since you asked. Yes, you are a disgusting dead food particle, abrasive containing, plaque infested used toothpaste ingesting freakazoid.

09-18-2001, 11:21 PM
From my Crest box:
"Do not Swallow."... Later on the box: "If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing, seek profesional help or contact a poison control center immediately."

That's enough for me to think you should go ahead and rinse. I know you are a stud, but the people that know about your consession to rinsing are few. Just keep quiet and nobody will know about your secret toothpaste rinsing.

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