What to Know About Cough Syrup and Cavities
Cold and flu season is here, which means it’s a common time for parents to turn to cough syrup when their young ones are sick. If your kids are coughing and old enough to take cough syrup, you should be aware that some kinds can increase their risk of cavities. It’s important to understand the link between this type of medicine and tooth decay so that you can protect your kids’ teeth during this cold and flu season.
Ingredients to Watch For
Certain kinds of cough syrup contain ingredients that aren’t good for kids’ teeth. When you’re choosing one of these products for your children, make sure you look over the list of ingredients on it. Avoid products that have sucrose or high fructose corn syrup, since these components can increase the risk of tooth decay. Sucrose and high fructose corn syrup have sugars that bacteria feed on. As bacteria consume these sugars, they end up turning them into acids that eat away at tooth enamel and raise the risk of having cavities form.
You should also avoid giving your kids cough syrups that contain citric acid. This acidic content can also affect tooth enamel by causing it to erode. This leaves your kids’ teeth more susceptible to decay. In addition, watch for products that have alcohol, since this ingredient can leave your kids with a dry mouth. Less saliva is associated with a higher risk of decay. Saliva helps get rid of acid and sugar that builds up on teeth.
Tips for Giving Cough Syrup to Kids
You can lower the risk of cavities linked to cough syrup use by choosing products that don’t contain sugars, acids or alcohol. When you give your kids cough syrup, avoid doing so before bedtime if possible. Giving these products to kids before bedtime means that their teeth are coated in sugars and acids during the night, which allows bacteria to feed on them for a longer period. Give these products to your kids at meal times rather than at bedtime, and have them drink water and brush their teeth after eating. Drinking water and brushing washes away sugars and acids that might otherwise cling to their teeth and increase the risk of tooth decay. You can also add some water to cough syrup before giving it to your kids, which makes it less sticky and helps lower the amount of sugar that ends up on their teeth. Drinking these products with a straw might also help since this prevents cough syrup from directly touching their teeth.
If your kids need a checkup to keep their teeth clean and in good condition, please contact Wright Smiles Pediatric Dentistry for an appointment. Our pediatric dentist can examine and clean your kids’ teeth to lower the risk of tooth decay.