It’s the season of sneezes and coughs, and the risk for colds and the flu is on the rise. At my dental office in Nokesville, we strive to keep our patients healthy, but even we don’t have a cure for the common cold. While many of us turn to over-the-counter medicines to put our pesky coughs to sleep, cough medicines can actually contribute to tooth decay and cavities.
Cough syrups and lozenges often contain sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, and alcohol. While these ingredients help relieve some symptoms and make managing a cold a bit easier, they can also cause damage to your teeth.
Mary Poppins may have been on to something when she sang, “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.” Many cough medicines include sugar to make the liquid easier to take and not so awful tasting. However, sugar is a main contributor of tooth decay and cavities. Mouth bacteria consume sugars which are then broken down into acid. This acid attacks the enamel and leads to decay.
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Photo credit: www.drugfree.org