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Can Cold Medicine Give Your Child Cavities?

With winter at its coldest, many parents have been dealing with trying to control the common cold virus as it runs rampant at day-cares and schools, spreading from child to child. Unfortunately, the cold medicine that we always reach for to help our children feel better could actually be damaging to their oral health.

Cough syrups contain sucrose and fructose corn syrup. These are both substances that the bacteria in our mouths love to feed on. As this bacteria feed, it creates the acids that cause cavities and weaken your child’s tooth enamel. A few brands of cough syrup can also cause dry mouth, which is a lack of saliva. Saliva is very important in keeping these acids away, so dry mouth only makes your child more susceptible to cavities.

We definitely aren’t advising that you do away with the cough medicine altogether and allow your child to suffer! There are ways that you can prevent the damage from being done to your child’s teeth:

  • Avoid giving your child cough syrup right before bed. Your mouth already makes less saliva during sleep and with the combined dry mouth and sugar base of cough syrup, this will make cavities more likely.
  • Brush your child’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste after giving them any liquid medicines. Brushing the harmful substances away is always the best way to fight cavities.
  • Sugar-free gum can be chewed throughout the day in order to produce saliva and wash away the acids. This option is only appropriate for children who are old enough to chew gum.

The best way to keep your child’s teeth and mouth healthy is to bring them in for regular checkups and dental cleanings. To make an appointment, please contact Great Outdoors Pediatric Dentistry, located in Dover, New Hampshire.

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