Can Cold Medicines and Cough Drops Affect Oral Health?

When becoming ill with the cold, we tend to forget about oral health and only seek relief for our symptoms. However, cold medicines and cough drops can have a negative effect on our oral health and lead to problems if proper oral hygiene is not practiced and precautions are not taken.

Cold and flu remedies and oral health

Cold and flu remedies can work well to relieve the symptoms brought on by a cold, but our teeth do not always react well to the medicine, and the health and appearance of our smile can be at risk. The following is everything to know about how cold and flu remedies affect oral health.

How cold medicines and cough drops affect oral health

The most common remedies for a cold include decongestants, cough drops, cough syrup and hot tea, all of which can negatively affect oral health. Some medicines such as decongestants can lead to dry mouth, which increases the chance of enamel erosion and gum complications. Other medications, such as cough drops and cough syrup, contain high levels of sugar and have a tendency to bond to the surface of teeth, which can cause an acidic attack on the enamel and gums. While hot tea may seem innocent, it contains elements that can lead to the staining of teeth.

How to protect your oral health with the cold

Just because many, if not most, cold remedies are not ideal for maintaining good oral health, it does not mean you should avoid taking them altogether. In many instances, medication while sick with the cold is the only way to keep the symptoms at a tolerable level until the infection is fought off. However, it is important to take extra precaution and practice good oral hygiene while taking cold medicines and cough drops. Additionally, try and take medications that are in pill form, rather than liquid syrups. When drinking beverages such as hot tea, it is best to use a straw to avoid enamel damage.

Alternatives to cold medicines and cough drops

It is best to seek alternatives to traditional cold and flu remedies when possible. As mentioned, one great way to do this is to seek out medication in the form of a pill rather than cough syrup. Additionally, the main issue with cough drops is the high level of sugar, so try and find cough drops that are sugar-free. When taking decongestants, it is best to do everything possible to avoid dry mouth, which may include drinking water throughout the day or chewing sugar-free gum.

Visit the dentist to learn more about oral health

It can be difficult to look out for your oral health while sick with the cold. While it is best to rest and take care of your oral health through good oral hygiene during the duration of your illness, it is often a good idea to visit the dentist after the cold has passed. The dentist can check and ensure that your good oral health has been maintained.

Request an appointment here: or call Metro Smiles Dental at (718) 841-9591 for an appointment in our Forest Hills office.

Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Oral Hygiene Basics.

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