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Cough Drops and Medicine can Cause Tooth Decay

Posted on 2/23/2015 by Nic Grasvik
Getting a cold or cough is never fun, but if you are not careful, what you take to make yourself feel better could put you at risk for tooth decay. Grab a bottle of your closest over-the-counter liquid medication and you are bound to see many different types of sugar on the ingredient list. These ingredients, such as high fructose corn syrup and table sugar, are added to make the medicine more palatable, but they are not good for your teeth. When you add to that the fact that you are taking the medicine in liquid form, you increase your chance of tooth enamel erosion even more because the liquid is likely to coat your entire mouth rather than going straight down your throat. The same is true for cough drops or throat lozenges; just like a piece of hard candy, these medications can force your teeth to sit in a pool of sugar, putting them at risk for decay.

How to Manage the Risks

This is not to say that you cannot ever take cold or cough medicine, but try to time it with your meals or make sure to drink a full glass of water after taking it, you could reduce your risk of damage to your teeth. Taking medicine with a meal is typically recommended so that it does not upset your stomach in the first place. The added benefit is the increased saliva production that you normally have during a meal, helping the medicine to be washed away from your teeth. Of course, the ultimate answer would be to immediately brush your teeth after taking any medication to truly ensure that all of the sugar is washed away from your mouth.

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Dr. Nicholas Grasvik
4690 SW Hall Blvd
Beaverton, OR 97005


Easy to find in downtown Beaverton.
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(503) 350-1234

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