What? Cough syrup can lead to cavities?

Flu Season

Flu Season is upon us and the sniffles and cough are miserable.  Even though that over-the-counter cough syrup seems easy, did you know that a spoonful of medicine can lead to tooth decay?

cough syrup
Facts about most cough drops and syrups

Syrups have high amount of sugar

high fructose corn syrup

High fructose corn syrup and sucrose are in most children’s medicines to improve their taste, however the side effects of these ingredients are not good for teeth! This high amount of sugar in them can stick to teeth and lead to cavities much faster

Flavored Syrups can have high acidity levels


Some cough syrups are flavored with citric acid, which is also bad for teeth.  Acids eat away at your tooth covering, the enamel, and increase the chance of getting a cavity.  Even some antihistamines have high acidity levels, so beware!

Syrups can contain alcohol


A few cough syrups contain alcohol as well, which can lead to dry mouth.  Your saliva is very important to keep your teeth clean and healthy.  Saliva helps wash away acids and sugars from your teeth, so taking medicine that lowers saliva will increase your chance to get tooth decay.

What can I do?

Have no fear, you can still fight the flu and keep your teeth healthy! Here are a few tips in case you do get the flu this season

Avoid taking medicine before bed time


Take liquid medication during meal times, not before bed. Saliva decreases at night, so taking syrups before bedtime will increase your chance of cavities.

Brush your teeth!

brush teeth

Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste after you take the medicine. This helps protect teeth from those sticky sugars.

Drink Water!

drink water

If you cannot brush, drink water! It’s easy and just as effective to remove sugar from your teeth.

Avoid liquid medicines


Request a tablet or pill form instead of the liquid to keep your teeth safe and healthy!

We hope that parents find this article helpful.  Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns!  Visit us at www.zpdentistry.com or call us at (832) 321 7151

Why should I take my child to the dentist?


“Well, my child’s teeth will fall out eventually, why should I take them to a dentist?”

That is the most common question we hear and now you can learn why you should visit us sooner rather than later.

Long Term Benefits

Dental exam

Visiting the pediatric dentist within the first 2 years of your child’s life can help benefit their psyche and early dental needs. Many fears stem from parents or family member’s negative experience at their dentist.  The sooner a child can familiarize themselves in a dental home, the less anxious they will be for future appointments.  It also gives us a chance to speak with care takers about good oral hygiene for the child, and we address habits and diets that can benefit them.  Also, if an emergency arises, you can rest assured it will be a short phone call before you are taken care of at your established dental home.

Not treating cavities can lead to damage on permanent teeth

cavities-tooth-decayCavities are holes made in teeth from bacteria. The longer you wait to treat those cavities, the greater the chance that bacteria (sugar bugs as we like to call them) will affect other teeth.  As children begin losing baby teeth, they enter a ‘mixed dentition’ phase, where they have both permanent and milk teeth.  If baby teeth have untreated cavities, that bacteria can spread to permanent teeth and could ‘make holes’ in them as well.

Cavities grow faster on baby teeth

baby teethBaby teeth differ from permanent teeth because their enamel (the thick outer white covering we see) is much thinner.  Cavities tend to grow and spread much faster than they do in permanent teeth, so it is important to get them treated as soon as they are diagnosed.  Infections spread quickly in children from their mouth to their necks and brains and cause abscesses and cellulitis (swelling of cheek and neck from infection) which are emergency situations.

Premature tooth loss can affect permanent teeth growth

Early loss of baby teethdiagnoses3

Losing a baby tooth due to cavities before it should naturally fall out can cause problems for the permanent teeth. It can lead to space loss in the child’s mouth and the natural eruption of permanent teeth.  While no one can predict if your child will need braces, preventing early tooth loss will benefit your child in the future.

Take action!

Remember, you can never start too early! Visit
www.zpdentistry.com for more information about our office or call 832.321.7151 if you have any questions.