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Other uses for diaper rash ointment: Handy tips from grayhairedmom

March 11, 2013
Logo design by Christine Hepner

There are none. Especially, don’t use it to brush your teeth. Yes, I tried it; No, not on purpose; And no, I wasn’t even old or a mom yet, so I really can’t use senility, “Mommy Brain,” or sleep deprivation for an excuse.

I was babysitting my niece one day, and we both took a big nap after lunch. I woke up first and stumbled into the bathroom with my make-up case only to realize that while I did have my mini toothbrush, I had used the last of the toothpaste from my little travel-size tube. The tube I found in the medicine cabinet was not an American product. It was in fact from Hungary, but since I had been brushing my teeth for quite a while, I thought I would be able to handle it without re-reading the instruction before doing so this time.

It was worth the risk; I totally had dragon breath.

So I spread some of this Hungarian toothpaste on my brush and started. The first thing I noticed, the consistency wasn’t what I expected. Then I noticed the taste wasn’t minty fresh and fabulous. I quite jingoistically thought, “Yeh, America! We rule toothpaste, too, apparently. U-S-A, U-S-ummmmmm, this doesn’t feel right.”

Since this was an actual tube brought back from Europe, the brand and most of the language was Hungarian, but there were several other languages on the tube in teeny, tiny fine print. One was French! Yay for me! I speak almost no French after studying it for 4 years in high school (and thanks Madame M for giving Donald G the French Achievement Award at graduation and not me, not that I’m still bitter or anything 35 years later) and 3 additional years in college.

It took me a few seconds to translate enough of the instruction for usage to understand that “spread liberally over baby’s bottom” was not how I was taught to use toothpaste. Heaving, I tried to find actual toothpaste or mouthwash or anything to get the ointment out of my mouth, but of course, it’s OINTMENT so rinsing my mouth out with water was not doing anything at all.

Then I had a panicked thought….could this shit be poisonous? I started trying to translate more of the French text and I was pretty sure that it did translate to something like, “Yuck, fool, call poison control.”

Now, I’d rather have died with dignity than admit that I ingested diaper rash ointment, but I was responsible for my niece, so I found an 800 number in phone book and called.

I was lucky to get the best poison control guy ever on the phone that day. I said, “I have one that I bet you’ve never heard before,” and he said, “Try me.”

“Brushed my teeth with diaper rash ointment.”

“Heard it, like twice today already.”

Apparently it’s an epidemic or something. He told me immediately it’s not poisonous, just nasty, and just keep rinsing until you feel better. A year should do it, I thought.

Flash forward about 10 years. I was changing F’s diaper one day and it’s the same old story. I turned my head for a few seconds to find a baby wipe or something and by the time I looked back, F had stuck his fingers in the jumbo-size jar of ointment and I could see that some of it was on his lips. I couldn’t tell if he got any in his mouth or how much. I almost fainted! I knew from the last call to poison control that it probably wasn’t poisonous, but the label did say, “If ingested, call poison control.”

This call to poison control was not as fun as the last time. This operator was super friendly (not a real handy quality when time might be of the essence) and didn’t seem to understand what I meant by diaper rash ointment. She wanted a brand name, and then she put me on hold for what seemed like an hour before coming back on and saying, “I don’t think it’s poisonous, but it can be a choking hazard.” I hung up and called my pediatrician. Everything turned out fine.

So, there you have it. Don’t brush your teeth before reading the instructions very carefully.

© Copyright 2013

One Comment
  1. Hi Grayhaired Mom,

    I really admire your personal and engaging voice. I just wanted to say thank you for sharing such great advice and stories on your blog for busy mothers and parents of young children! This is a great tip for diaper rash ointment!

    I’ve taken a look through your website and we think you’ve done a fantastic job in covering topics that our brand’s audience of expecting mothers would be interested in reading. It would be great if you could join our community to feature your blog entries.

    If you would like to learn more about this, please send an email to info at with “mothers” in the subject line.



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