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Toothpaste causing diarrhea?

Patient: My 2 year old son has had small bowel movements multiple times per day for a couple of weeks now. He has no other symptoms, is eating normally, and does not act as if he feels sick. Sometimes the bowel movements are slightly solid, but they are often loose. I thought it was probably a virus and he would get over it soon, but it continues. The only thing I could think of was around the same time frame that this began, I switched from using Oral B Toddler Toothpaste to Tom’s organic flouride free toothpaste. Could this be related?




Doctor: I understand your concern about your child’s diarrhea probably caused by the toothpaste. I agree with you that a possibi bility of the tooth paste causing diarrhea might be true. There is an ingredient called sorbitol in many tooth pastes, this ingredient acts like a laxative and might produce rapid intestinal movements causing soft stools and diarrhea.Children usually swallow the tooth paste until they reach 6 to 7 years of age, I would suggest you to use only a small amount of tooth paste with your child, a drop would be enough, and if possible change the tooth paste for the one you were using before. Give him plenty of fluids to recover his losses.If the diarrhea persists for more than 2 weeks, consult his pediatrician to rule out other possibilities such as viral conditions or intolerance to certain foods.


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Dr. Suneel Sharman M.D.

Dr. Suneel Sharman M.D.

Dr. Suneel Sharman completed his residency in Family Medicine at the University of Toronto. He currently operates Infinity Health Centre, a walk-in-clinic in downtown Toronto.

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