Are Cough Drops Bad For Your Teeth?

Posted on 9/10/2016 by Brandon Cooley
A close up of several cough drops.Although summer is not that far behind us, cough and cold season is quickly approaching, and that means sniffling noses and scratchy throats.

With colds and other sickness becoming more common, boxes of tissue, vitamin C supplements, and cough drops will start making their way into our shopping carts.

When your nose is running and your throat hurts, you probably are not thinking too much about how certain remedies are affecting your dental health, but cough drops in particular can be harmful to your teeth.

The Usual Culprit - Sugar

Cough drops are a useful remedy since they can soothe a sore throat or help suppress a persistent cough. However, the medicinal properties of cough drops do not negate the fact that using them is essentially like eating hard candy.

Most cough drops have 3 to 4 grams of sugar per drop, which is a lot of sugar for a small drop. When using a lozenge, we often keep it in our mouth for a few minutes, giving the sugar plenty of time to stick to our teeth.

Also, many times we need more than one cough drop throughout the day, which means further exposing teeth to sugar. The bacteria in plaque convert this sugar to acid, resulting in tooth decay.

What Should You Do If You Need A Cough Drop?

If you need a cough drop to soothe a scratchy throat, there are a several sugar-free options to choose from that will not increase your risk of decay. If you decide to use a brand that has sugar, be sure to brush your teeth after you use a cough drop to minimize the time sugar sits on your teeth.

Sometimes we are not in situations where we can immediately brush our teeth, so if that is the case, you can rinse you mouth with water in the meantime. If you want to avoid cough drops completely, try gargling warm water with salt to soothe a sore throat.

Please contact us if you have any questions about cough drops effect on your oral health.

As a patient, three things stand out to me about Cooley Smiles - the great quality dental work, the cleanliness of the facility and thorough follow up. These are major differentiators that I look for in dental providers and to-date, I've always been satisfied with my experience. Thanks for the great patient care, Cooley Smiles team!

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