I wrote this on a local news blog a couple of years ago and since the topic of flouride toothpaste was brought up on a local mom website it reminded me of it. I figured it would be a great thing to share here:
My daughter, Alexis, was rushed to the ER yesterday and over something that most of us wouldn’t forsee being a huge health risk to our child(ren). I woke up today to find my daughter standing over me sucking on a tube of toothpaste (Colgate) in bubble gum flavor. I grabbed it and thought nothing of it.
About an hour later she vomitted. It came out smelling like a mixture of toothpaste and bubble gum which instantly told me that she swallowed more than I had first assumed. I called the Poison Control Center number, and told them precisely what happened and what was happening at the present time. Alexis had consumed 1/2 of a 4.6oz tube. I was told, “She has swallowed a toxic dose. You need to get her to the emergency room immediately!”. I asked if I should take her myself or call an ambulance and the ladies response was, “What you should be doing is getting your car keys and getting her to the ER immediately!!!”. Now, as a mother, my heart sank to my feet and I WANTED to break down and cry.
However, I maintained my cool & got the both of us ready; we were out the door in 5 minutes. At that point, I called my mom and Step-Dad who were playing golf in St. Peters and asked them to meet me at the hospital. I then called the hospital to confirm that Poison Control had called them and advised them that we were on the way; they had.
When we arrived, they ran an EKG and a blood test. Flouride can cause HEART DAMAGE. That’s the “nice part” about it though. If a child who weights a mere 22lbs swallows 2.5 ounces of flouride it can and has been FATAL. Alexis weighs 27lbs and consumed 2.3 ounces. Imagine my despair if you will.
Upon arriving home hours later and getting Alexis settled down here is some information I found on a dental website. However, please keep in mind that the ER Doctor advised me that consuming too much flouride does NOT cause diarrhea NOR vomitting. A Doctor… good grief!
Surprisingly, these answers reveal the sad truth that many people do not understand about the toxicity of fluoride and when to call the Poison Control Center. It is unquestionably important for everyone to learn the signs and symptoms of fluoride toxicity, especially when there is a small child in the family.
The facts about fluoride toxicity are:
Early symptoms of acute fluoride toxicity (e.g. gastrointestinal pain, nausea, vomiting, headaches) can be produced at doses as low as 0.1 to 0.3 mg/kg.
Swallowing fluoride at the amount 5 mg/kg can be fatal.
Ingestion of as little as 1 percent of a tube of flavored children’s toothpaste can produce acute fluoride toxicity in a young child.
The most common symptoms of acute fluoride toxicity include:
Nausea (97%), Vomiting (68%), Diarrhea (65%), Abdominal cramps (53%), Headaches (41%), and Burning sensations in the throat or chest (12%).
SOURCE: Penman AD, Brackin BT, Embrey R. (1997). Outbreak of acute fluoride poisoning caused by a fluoride overfeed, Mississippi, 1993. Public Health Reports 112:403-9.
Website where I found the information: http://www.softdental.com/houston_dentist/dying_from_t
If you have small children, PLEASE put the toothpaste away. Do not assume that they will not touch it. That same tube of toothpaste had been sitting in the cabinet above my toilet for about 6 months now. ALWAYS SUPERVISE your child while they are brushing their teeth and ALWAYS use flouride free toothpaste for children 3 and under.
It truly concerns me that an EMERGENCY room DOCTOR did not know this information so I felt it imperative to pass it on to anyone and everyone on my friends list so you all will be better prepared should this happen to your child(ren).