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What Happens When You Swallow a Tooth: A Journey Through the Digestive System
Jun 07, 2023
Losing a tooth happens to all of us, but what if you swallow it by accident? This might sound scary, especially to a kid, but it's usually not as bad as it seems.
This article discusses the consequences of swallowing a tooth. Possible risks are also examined. Advice on what to do in such a scenario is provided.
The Path of a Swallowed Tooth
To understand what happens when you swallow a tooth, we must consider how our body digests food. First, we use our teeth and saliva to break down food in the mouth. The food travels down the esophagus, a tube, into the stomach. In the stomach, it is broken down further by stomach acid.
But a tooth isn't food. It's made of hard stuff like enamel and dentin that our body can't break down.
Food passes through the stomach and small intestine unchanged. In the small intestine, our body takes out the beneficial nutrients. The
waste then enters the large intestine.
Here, the body extracts water from it. Finally, it prepares the leftovers for elimination. The tooth usually comes out in poop 1 to 3 days after being swallowed.
Possible Problems From Swallowing a Tooth
Swallowing a tooth is usually okay, but sometimes there can be problems. The biggest risk is choking, especially for little kids. If a loose tooth gets stuck in the throat or windpipe, especially during sleep, it can be a choking risk.
Once the tooth passes the throat, it usually goes through the digestive system safely. But if the tooth is sharp, it could scratch the inside of the body and even cause an infection.
A tooth could block the intestines, but this is highly unlikely. This is because a tooth is much smaller than our internal organs. Most swallowed things, like teeth, go through the body without causing problems.
What to Do If a Tooth Is Swallowed
If you or your kid accidentally swallows a tooth, the first thing to do is stay calm. Being scared can make things worse.
Make sure to breathe normally. Signs of someone choking may include coughing, gagging, or difficulty breathing. It's important to take action quickly. Perform the Heimlich maneuver or get medical help immediately.
Once you know the tooth was swallowed safely, watch for it to come out in poop over the next few days. If there's stomach pain, throwing up, or a fever, get medical help because these can be signs of a problem.
Remember that a swallowed tooth has been through the digestive system and is not clean. Don't touch it, even if you want to save it for the tooth fairy.
Swallowing a tooth can be frightening and might keep the tooth fairy away. However, it's usually not a major problem.
In conclusion, it's important to remember that this isn't a large issue. Our bodies are great at dealing with things like this and usually get the tooth out in a few days. Problems are rare; in most cases, you only need to wait and check the toilet.
So, if you or your kid swallows a tooth, don't worry. It's a little bump in the road and might make a funny story. And for the tooth fairy, you can always leave a note explaining what happened!
Q: How long does it take for a swallowed tooth to come out?
A: Usually, a swallowed tooth comes out in poop within 1 to 3 days.
Q: Should I see a doctor if I swallow a tooth?
A: If you don't experience choking or stomach pain when you swallow the tooth, visiting a doctor is unnecessary. But if you do have these problems, get medical help right away.