What do colds, coughs, and cavities all have in common? Well you may be aware that sweet treats like desserts, candies, and sugary drinks lead to tooth decay, but cough syrup is another unfortunate source as well. Troubles with cavities can arise from the use of many syrupy medications! This is especially true if it’s taken over an extended period of time, such as the miserable weeks of a cold bug or nasty winter flu.

Over-the-counter antihistamine syrups that you purchase for your family will often contain low pH levels and a high acidity. This medicine often has lots of sugar to help with the poor taste. When those two factors are combined, it’s bad news for teeth! They easily cause erosion and dissolve tooth enamel when working together.

But don’t worry! This doesn’t mean you have to suffer seasonal bugs with no relief. We recommend following these quick tips to protect your teeth from cough syrupy harm:

  • Don’t take syrup medication after you’ve brushed your teeth before bed. During sleeping hours, saliva flow decreases. This means the sugary residue won’t be rinsed away and will stick to teeth!
  • If you MUST take a bedtime dose, always floss, brush, & rinse afterward.
  • Take the medicine with your meals. When chewing, your saliva increases and helps rinse away acids and sugars.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste, and discuss a topical fluoride with your dentist to help avoid cavities and decay.

As the weather gets colder, these precautions along with your usual excellent oral health habits will help you and your family steer clear of cavities caused by your cough medicine. If you have any additional questions or would like to schedule your next appointment at our office, please call us at (562) 434-6414.