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Cough Drops and Cavities

As winter rolls on, so does cold and flu season. With that comes the coughing, sneezing, and sniffling that are all too common to our winter months. While we always want to remain as comfortable as possible while coping with these bothersome symptoms, it is important that in doing so we avoid any harmful side effects. The results that cough drops/cough syrup can have on your dental health are significant, and we should all be aware of how to prevent them!

Cough drops and cough syrup contain certain ingredients that are crucial to their soothing effect on your sore throat and cough. These include citric acid, alcohol, or high fructose corn syrup. All of these, howerver, can lead to tooth decay! The longer teeth are subjected to sugar or acid, the more susceptible they are to decay. Since alcohol has a drying effect on the mouth, that means less saliva to “buffer” the acids in your mouth, which means a greater chance of developing a cavity!

To minimize the risk of developing a cavity, we at our West Caldwell dentist office recommend the following: Brush your teeth (or at least rinse with water) after taking medication or using a cough drop. Use cough drops and lozenges sparingly throughout the day, and try not to use them before going to bed, since that is a prime time for cavities to develop. Always remember to brush and floss as well and you will be well on your way to a clean checkup at your next visit!