The Surprising Link between Cough Syrup and Cavities

Jun 15, 2018 | Dental Tips

Many people know that excess sugar intake and poor oral hygiene are the leading causes of tooth decay. Did you know cough syrup can also contribute to cavities?

The fructose and sucrose in most cough syrups are used to mask the unpleasant taste of the medicine. This high sugar content can cause cavities and other oral health-related issues. After the medicine is consumed, bad bacteria feed on the sugar in your mouth, increasing the possibility of cavity development.

Cough syrups also contain citric acid, and some cough syrups contain alcohol. These ingredients can dry out your mouth and affect your ability to produce saliva, which cleanses sugar from your mouth. These added components are a bad combination for teeth.

How to Avoid Cough Syrup-Related Cavities

Taking medicated syrup can be crucial for treating coughs, but be aware of potential disadvantages.

Protect your dental health with these tips:

  • Since cough syrup is often taken before bed, wait for at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Brushing right away after taking an acidic substance can alter the natural pH level of your mouth and cause enamel erosion.
  • If you can’t brush, rinse your mouth well with plenty of water or chew a sugar-free gum to neutralize the sugar.
  • Take syrup only when needed and with the correct dosage. Consult your healthcare professional before using any medication.
  • Use cough medication pills when possible. If that isn’t an option, try sugar-free drops. They can be found in several grocery store chains and pharmacies.

Tooth decay can cause a great deal of pain and can damage your teeth. A small amount of sugar, citric acid, and alcohol content may seem insignificant. However, the cumulative effects of improper cleaning after using cough syrup may have an impact on your dental health. Maintaining good oral health keeps teeth healthy and strong, reducing painful decay and dental care costs.

Coughs, colds, and flu should not affect your dental health. To care for your family’s oral health, especially during cough and cold season, visit a dentist for a checkup.

Call Lambton Shores Family Dental at (519) 704-1400 to book an appointment. We offer comprehensive family dental services in Forest, Ontario.