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The Link Between Cough Syrup and Childhood Dental Cavities

Child receiving a dose of cough syrup

Now that the chillier winter weather is here, parents are bracing themselves for the cold season! Schools, preschools, daycares, and even playgrounds are all breeding places for the germs that kids are all too happy to share! Unfortunately, the cough syrup that parents rely on to help children feel a little better when they have a cold may be damaging to dental health.

Dental Cavities and Cough Medicine

Cough medicine contains fructose corn syrup and sucrose, both of which are fed on by the bacteria that live in the mouth. As this bacteria feed, it produces acids that harm the teeth by eating away at the vulnerable tooth enamel, causing it to weaken. Once this happens, the teeth become more susceptible to tooth decay and dental cavities.

Luckily there are ways to prevent dental cavities while still helping to ease your child’s symptoms of the common cold:

  • Avoid giving your child cough medicine right before bed. Saliva production is reduced during sleep and, since saliva helps to wash away harmful acid, a lack of saliva can allow the acids to eat away at the enamel all night.
  • No matter when you choose to give your child cough medicine, make sure he or she thoroughly brush his or her teeth afterward. Brush with fluoride toothpaste for at least two minutes to fight dental cavities.
  • Lastly, you can give your child sugar-free gum after administering cough syrup. Chewing gum helps to produce saliva production which can wash away harmful acids. Additionally, many sugar-free gums contain Xylitol, which has been shown to fight dental cavities.

To make sure your children have a cavity-free cold season, please contact Little Smiles of Delaware to schedule them for a dental cleaning and a checkup! To make an appointment please call our Delaware, Ohio child’s dental office today!

Posted on Dec 23, 2019
Image Credit: © Dreamstime.com

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