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How the Cold & Flu Season Can Affect Your Boise Dental Health

How the Cold & Flu Season Can Affect Your Boise Dental Health

Tis the season for sneezing and coughing! With the cold and flu season now upon us, you may not realize that the medicine you take to feel better, may actually be detrimental to your Boise dental health. While medicines usually come with a variety of side effects, one thing that may not be listed is the fact that they can cause oral tooth decay.

Below is a list of medications that can hurt your teeth and some advice on how to protect your teeth while using them:

Cavity Causing Culprits

Cough Syrup: In an effort to make cough syrup taste better, many companies add sugar and flavorings to make them more appealing. While Mary Poppins may have been right ~ a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down ~ cough syrup can be just as damaging to your teeth as candy. Even worse, cough syrups are usually taken before bed, allowing the sugar to coat your teeth overnight.

Cough Drops: Just like cough syrup, cough drops contain large amounts of sugar to improve their flavor. What’s worse is that cough drops stay in your mouth longer than cough syrup, which can be more detrimental to your Boise dental health. Just like hard candy, the sugar in cough drops take longer to dissolve, allowing it more time to damage your teeth.

Vitamin C Tablets: It’s important to take plenty of Vitamin C during the cold and flu season. While Vitamin C is known to boost your immune system, it can, however, come at a cost. Vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid) is known to weaken the enamel of your teeth when chewed in tablet form by exposing them to harsh acid.

Antihistamines: Many cold and allergy medications use antihistamines. However, one of the main side effects of antihistamines is a dry mouth. While we don’t tend to think much about saliva being an important part of our Boise dental health, producing too little of it can cause big problems. Saliva is important because it helps to naturally dilute and wash away acids and sugars inside your mouth. When the use of antihistamines reduce the production of saliva, your teeth don’t get their normal rinse and are more likely to develop cavities.

Protect Your Teeth With The Following Boise Dental Tips:

At Summit Dental Group, our Boise dentists are not against our patients taking cold or flu medication. However, when you do, it’s a good idea to be extra cautious with your oral hygiene. By making sure to take care of your teeth, you can focus on getting better, and not worrying about your smile!

  • Instead of taking cough syrup right before bed, give yourself plenty of time to brush your teeth after taking the medication.

  • Whenever possible, take medications like cough syrup with a meal. When you eat, you produce natural saliva to help wash away sugar that lingers on your teeth.

  • Instead of syrups, try opting for soft gels or caplets that you can swallow whole rather than chew.

  • If medications such as antihistamines are causing dry mouth symptoms, make sure to keep water on hand to keep your mouth well hydrated. Chewing sugar-free gum can also help boost natural saliva production.

At Summit Dental Group, we care about our patients and hope you stay healthy during the cold and flu season. However, if you do get sick it’s important to use caution when taking over-the-counter medications and follow the above tips to help protect your Boise dental health!