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How Do Cold and Flu Medications Impact Oral Health? March 20, 2019

Gates, Monroe
How Do Cold and Flu Medications Impact Oral Health?, Gates, New York

If you contract a cold or the flu, there are go-to medications you may rely on to alleviate your symptoms. Like anything you put in your mouth, they impact your oral health, and it’s important to understand how. Medications have different side effects; while this doesn’t mean you can’t use them, you need to be mindful of how to counteract any reactions and to let your dentist know about side effects.

3 Medications & Their Effect On Your Teeth

1. Cough Drops 

Cough drops offer temporary relief, but since they sit on your teeth for a long time, they can lead to decay. Many contain sugar or acidic flavoring that will fuel decay-causing bacteria and lead to cavities. Ask your dentist about sugar-free options, and make sure not to chew them, as they can chip your teeth.

2. Decongestants 

Decongestants alleviate runny noses so you can breathe better. In the process, however, they dry out your mouth, cutting down saliva production. Saliva naturally washes your teeth throughout the day, preventing decay-causing bacteria from settling on your teeth and also loosening stuck food. If you take decongestants, drink plenty of water and chew sugar-free gum to avoid dry mouth.  Also brush your teeth more frequently.

3. Cough Syrup 

dentistSugar is used in many cough syrups to make them easier to swallow. Because they’re sticky, they sit on your teeth. Those that contain alcohol can also dry out your mouth. This can result in cavities and stains over time, which is why you need to brush your teeth after ingesting cough syrup. For an added layer of protection, rinse your mouth with mouthwash to rid your teeth of any lingering cough syrup particles. 



If you’re overdue for a dental exam, turn to Drs Emery & Scuro DMD, PC in Rochester, NY. Skilled dentists in this practice have served residents across Monroe County for over 35 years and offer comprehensive dental services including, orthodontics, periodontics, children’s dentistry and cosmetic services. A dentist will work closely with you to ensure you achieve a healthy smile, and you can count on arriving at a comfortable, state-of-the-art environment. Call (585) 247-7110 to schedule an exam and visit their website to learn more about their services. 

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