The cold weather is here, and it brings a whole bunch of germs with it! This is especially true for families with kids in preschool, grade school, or daycare – these places have a tendency to facilitate the rapid spread of germs. Unfortunately, cavities & cough syrup are related. Cough syrup, which can be so helpful in easing cold and flu symptoms, can be damaging your teeth and those of your children.
Cough syrups contain fructose corn syrup as well as sucrose – both of these substances are a favorite treat for the bacteria that live in the mouth. As these bacteria feed, they produce acids. The acid will then begin to damage and wear down the tooth’s enamel, which will cause cavities and tooth decay. Also, a side effect of many of these medications is dry mouth. Because saliva helps to wash away the harmful acids that eat away at the enamel, a lack of this saliva can help facilitate the cavities and decay.
Preventing Dental Problems Related To Cough Syrup
We definitely aren’t saying that you need to do away with the cold and cough medicine. Below are a few ways you can help to prevent cavities in yourself and your child:
- Brush your teeth or your child’s teeth with fluoridated toothpaste immediately after administering the cough syrup. This is still the best way to keep cavities away in any situation.
- Avoid administering cough syrup right before you or child goes to bed. There are a few reasons for this. First, allowing the syrup to sit on the teeth all night long will aid in the formation of cavities. Second, because saliva production is reduced during sleep, there will be nothing to help wash away the acid produced by the bacteria feeding on the cough syrup.
- If you are unable to brush right after taking the cough syrup, you can chew a sugar-free gum. Chewing will aid in saliva production and help your mouth to wash away the acids.
For a dental checkup and exam for your children, or if your child has a toothache, please contact Discovery Kids Pediatric Dentistry, located in Frisco, TX. Find a local pediatric dentist today! We want to help your family have healthy, beautiful smiles all year round!