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Cavities and Cough Syrup

As fall approaches and the weather gets a little chillier, parents begin to brace themselves for the cold season! Whether your child attends school, preschool, daycare or just plays at a neighborhood park, they’re always little germ magnets! Unfortunately, the cough syrup that we reach for every time we hear a case of the sniffles coming on may actually be damaging your child’s teeth.

Cough syrups contain sucrose and fructose corn syrup, both of which are fed on by bacteria in the mouth. As this bacteria feed, it produces harmful acids that eat away at your child’s sensitive teeth, causing cavities and weakening enamel. Some of these syrups can also cause dry mouth, or a lack of saliva. Since saliva is very important to washing away these acids, it just makes the chances of a cavity that much more likely!

Luckily, there’s no reason to do away with the cough medicine just yet! Below is a list of ways you can prevent cavities in a child with a cold:

  • Make sure you brush your child’s teeth (or have them brush their own teeth) with fluoride toothpaste immediately after administering cough syrup. This is the best way to fight cavities in any situation.
  • Never give cough syrup right before bed. Saliva production is reduced during sleep and, as mentioned before, a lack of saliva can contribute greatly to the formation of cavities.
  • You can give your child sugar-free gum after they take cough syrup. Chewing helps produce saliva, which will help wash away the harmful acids that the sugar can create.

To make sure your child has healthy teeth and gums, bring them in for a checkup at Firestone Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics in Firestone, Colorado!

Posted on Sep 29, 2015

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