Children’s Colds, Cough Syrup, & Cavities
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Children’s Colds, Cough Syrup, & Cavities

Children’s Colds, Cough Syrup, & Cavities

Now that winter is officially upon us, and the weather gets colder, the common cold becomes inevitable for most families. Especially for those with kids in daycare, preschool, or grade schools – these places are like little germ factories! Unfortunately, if your first reaction is to reach for a bottle of cough syrup, you may be damaging your child’s oral health.

Can Cough Syrup Cause Cavities?

The answer to this question is yes! Cough and cold syrups contain both fructose corn syrup as well as sucrose, in order to make them taste decent enough for kids to tolerate them. Unfortunately, these two substances are also favorites for the bacteria in your child’s mouth. As the bacteria feed, acid is created, which will eat away at your child’s vulnerable tooth enamel, causing dental cavities and tooth decay.

Fortunately, this doesn’t mean that you need to banish helpful cough and cold syrups from your home. Below are a few ways that you can prevent your child from getting a cavity during cold season:

  • The best thing you can do is to make sure you brush your child’s teeth (or that they brush their own teeth) with fluoride toothpaste after administering any kind of medicine. This is the best way to prevent cavities in almost any situation.
  • Avoid administering cold or cough syrup immediately before bedtime. First, this will prevent the syrup from sitting on your child’s teeth all night. Second, saliva production is reduced during sleep. Since saliva is instrumental in helping to wash away harmful acids from the teeth, a lack of saliva can contribute to cavities.
  • Lastly, allow your child to have a piece of sugar-free gum after he or she is given cough syrup. Chewing helps saliva production, which, as we mentioned above, can help keep cavities at bay.

To make sure your child has healthy teeth all year round, make sure they brush their teeth twice a day, floss daily, and visit the dentist every 6 months for a dental cleaning and exam! To make an appointment with Lockett Orthodontics, please call our Colorado Springs, CO office today.

Posted on Dec 21, 2016

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