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Is There A Link Between Cavities & Cough Syrup?

Winter is here, which means that germs are making their rounds. If your child attends daycare, preschool, or grade school, it’s even more likely that germs will find their way into your home this season. To make matters worse, it’s been shown that the cough syrup we all reach for as parents may actually be harming our children’s dental health.

Many cough and cold syrups contain sucrose and high fructose corn syrup. Both of these ingredients are fed on by the bacteria in your child’s mouth. As this bacteria feed, it will create harmful acids that can eat away at your child’s vulnerable tooth enamel. As the enamel is weakened, small holes can form, creating dental cavities and tooth decay. Additionally, these cough and cold syrups can also cause dry mouth. Because saliva helps wash away the harmful acids that create dental problems, a lack of saliva will only worsen the issue.

Avoiding Dental Problems Associated With Cough Syrup

Thankfully, there are ways you can minimize the damage done to your child’s teeth. Below are a few ways to keep cough syrup cavities at bay:

  • Brush your child’s teeth (or have him or her brush their own teeth) with fluoridated toothpaste right after giving them cough or cold syrup. In fact, brushing right after consuming any food or beverage is the best way to fight cavities.
  • Avoid giving your child cough or cold syrup right before they go to bed. This is because saliva production is greatly reduced during sleep. As we mentioned above, saliva is instrumental in washing away acids.
  • Allow your child to chew some sugar-free gum after they take cough or cold syrup. Chewing will produce saliva, which will help prevent cavities and tooth decay.

The best way to make sure your children have healthy teeth are to brush them twice a day, floss daily, and bring them to Little Rockies Pediatric Dentistry every six months for a dental cleaning and exam. To make an appointment today, please call our Parker, CO pediatric dental office.

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