Health A-Z

West Covina Girl Dies After Allergic Reaction To Toothpaste, Prompting Warning From Parents

Do you have a child who has a severe allergy, or do you know someone else who does? Have you ever encountered parents who are extremely strict with what they allow their children to eat for health or allergy reasons? No dairy, no sugar, no peanuts, no eggs, no gluten, no red dye! Sometimes the strictness by which certain families have to live in terms of diet sounds utterly exhausting. But the case of an 11-year-old girl, Denise, from West Covina who died after brushing her teeth with a toothpaste containing milk, reminds us all that allergies are serious. A severe allergic reaction was to blame. All parents should heed the warning that Denise’s parents offer. (1)

Severe Allergies and Strict Diets

Monique Altamirano and Jose Saldate, both 43-years-old, explained how their daughter died of an allergic reaction after using a toothpaste that contained milk. In response to their daughter’s devastating death, Altamirano and Saldate are speaking out in order to reach other parents with children who have serious allergies. (1)

Altamirano and Saldate explained how they were always vigilant parents. They kept EpiPens nearby in case of an emergency. They were extremely careful to avoid any kinds of foods that might trigger their daughter’s allergy. They packed safe meals for their daughter to bring to birthday parties, picnics, school, and more. They read all of the fine print on food labels in order to be absolutely certain they avoided any trace of dairy. (1)

When Denise’s dentist prescribed a special medicated toothpaste, MI Paste One, neither Altamirano nor Saldate ever imagined it would have milk in it. According to Altamirano, “I did not think to look at the product ingredients. [Denise] was just excited to have her special toothpaste.” (2)

This devastating mistake, a brief lapse in judgment, and a momentary relaxation of the rules lead to the most tragic experience of their lives.

Denise Dies due to Allergic Reaction

On April 4, 2019, 11-year-old Denise began dutifully brushing her teeth with the toothpaste her dentist explained would help her enamel. She obediently did what she was told, only to immediately run to her mother, crying as the allergic reaction set its course. According to Altamirano, Denise’s lips were turning blue by the time she reached her mother’s bedroom. Panicked, Altamirano administered the EpiPen she always kept nearby and offered her daughter the asthma inhaler to help her airway. (3)

None of it worked. Denise was unable to breathe as the allergy clenched her airway closed. As a well trained former school bus driver, Altamirano attempted to revive her daughter by way of chest compressions and soon rushed her to the hospital. (3)

Denise died that night. (3)


In response to their daughter’s devastating story, Altamirano and Saldate are offering a simple warning to any and every other parent of children with severe allergies: read absolutely everything. The parents explain their failure to notice a minuscule warning on Denise’s new toothpaste tube about the ingredient Recaldent. This compound is a milk protein that bonds with the surface of the teeth for a more effective medical toothpaste, but it’s the very ingredient that killed their daughter. (3)

Altamirano says, “Don’t get comfortable, just because you’ve been managing for several years. You can’t get comfortable or be embarrassed or afraid to ask and ensure that the ingredients are okay. Be that advocate for your child.” (2)

Denise had her own YouTube channel and had so much potential in life. This family’s story goes to show not only how free parents should be to protect their child’s health, but also how vigilant they need to be in cases of severe allergies. Never a judge another parent, family, or child for how “inconvenient” their needs are. You never know how serious their situation could be. (4)







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