Accidental Ingestion of Large Amounts of Fluoride is Toxic
In rare cases, exposure to high levels of fluoride can cause acute toxicity or fluoride poisoning. The mildest version of this occurs when you have an upset stomach after accidentally swallowing toothpaste or mouthwash that contains fluoride. While uncomfortable, this low level of exposure is not typically a cause for concern. However, swallowing large amounts of fluoride-containing dental products can cause nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Children are at a higher risk of this than adults, which is why parents are instructed to use very small amounts of toothpaste and monitor young children until they are able to brush without swallowing toothpaste. Exposure to larger amounts of fluoride, typically through contact with contaminated water or industrial waste, can cause severe symptoms, including seizures, irregular heartbeat, tremors, and cardiac arrest.