What You Need To Know About Cough Syrup And Cavities

Dentist Blog

With cold and flu season in full swing, many people find themselves relying more and more on over-the-counter medicines such as cough syrup to help treat some of their symptoms. While cough syrup is helpful to adults and kids alike, it can also be harmful to your teeth in you aren't careful. Continue reading to learn more about the correlation between cough syrup and cavities and what you can do about it.

Cough Syrups Cause Cavities?

No conclusive studies have been conducted to say with confidence that cough syrup causes cavities. Instead, it comes down to the ingredients in cough syrup and how they can affect your teeth. It's important for many reasons to be aware of the ingredients in any medicine you take, but now your dental health could rely on it.

Ingredients in Cough Syrup That Harm Your Dental Health

Check your label for the following ingredients:

Sucrose or high fructose corn syrup are sources of sugars found in some cough syrups that can contribute to tooth decay.

Alcohol are in some cough syrups and it causes your mouth to be dry, which prevents your saliva from rinsing away damaging elements like sugar or acid.

Citric acid is a popular ingredient in syrups with antihistamines and citric acid can wear at the enamel on your teeth.


If these ingredients cannot be avoided, make sure your brush your teeth after taking the medicine in addition to your regular brushing routine. If you are away from home and can't brush your teeth, at least chew a sugar free gum to aide in saliva production or rinse your mouth well with water.

Another good tip is to take your medicine when you eat a meal so that your mouth produces more saliva that can help wash away the harmful ingredients.

A fluoride toothpaste will help protect your enamel against attackers that cause tooth decay. In addition, you can take a calcium supplement to help keep your enamel strong and protected.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist if the medicine is available in a pill instead of a syrup. If it's not, ask if there is a good alternative that will help treat the cough but be easier on your teeth. You never know unless you ask and all that can happen is that you learn you need to take the liquid medicine.

Now that you know that cough syrup can be rough on your teeth, hopefully you will choose your medication carefully and work to prevent any damage that it may cause through good brushing habits and increasing your production of saliva. Talk to a dentist, like Scott Brenner, DDS, for more information.


2 February 2016

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