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Ontario Poison Centre




Toothpaste is a common call for the Poison Centre: when children are left unattended they may become curious about the tube and sometimes eat a large portion of its contents. Toothpaste contains fluoride which can be poisonous if enough is swallowed. Often this requires ingesting more than a few mouthfuls. Fluoride in toothpaste usually comes in one of three forms: sodium fluoride, sodium monofluorophosphate, and stannous fluoride.

Poisoning Risk

Dependent on amount ingested.

Low in small amounts.

High in larger amounts.

Expected Symptoms

  • Possible upset stomach (discomfort, nausea, isolated episode of vomiting or diarrhea).
  • Fluoride poisoning: moderate to severe vomiting and diarrhea, drowsiness, muscle weakness.

Home Treatment

  • Provide milk to drink (calcium can help to reduce the fluoride absorption).
  • For eye exposures, rinse eyes for at least 15 minutes with lukewarm water.
  • Call the Poison Centre for further advice.


  • Every case is different. OPC is available 24hrs/day to provide information for your individual situation. Call 1-800-268-9017 (Toll-free) or 416-813-5900 (Local).



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