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Killer toothpaste?

Dear Matthew Alice:

I've heard that toothpaste should not be ingested or it can cause fever, nausea, vomiting and even death. There's even a warning on most toothpaste tubes. Is this like lab rats...you'd have to eat 1000 tubes of toothpaste every day for 20 years?

-- Kent Hill, University City

It's the fluoride, not the toothpaste itself. Pure fluoride is a poison. One part per million is the therapeutic anti-cavity dose considered safe in drinking water; 125 parts per million will make you very sick, but you probably won't end up as a corpse with great teeth. The toothpaste tube warning refers mostly to children. If they ingest three ounces or more of the paste (about a third of a biggish tube), they can be in for trouble. The other big warning about fluoride is political. It is known to give you massive, continual headaches if you try to add it to the public drinking water system.

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Dear Matthew Alice:

I've heard that toothpaste should not be ingested or it can cause fever, nausea, vomiting and even death. There's even a warning on most toothpaste tubes. Is this like lab rats...you'd have to eat 1000 tubes of toothpaste every day for 20 years?

-- Kent Hill, University City

It's the fluoride, not the toothpaste itself. Pure fluoride is a poison. One part per million is the therapeutic anti-cavity dose considered safe in drinking water; 125 parts per million will make you very sick, but you probably won't end up as a corpse with great teeth. The toothpaste tube warning refers mostly to children. If they ingest three ounces or more of the paste (about a third of a biggish tube), they can be in for trouble. The other big warning about fluoride is political. It is known to give you massive, continual headaches if you try to add it to the public drinking water system.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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