Check Your Home For These 3 Covert Tooth Decay Offenders

If you're like most people, you knew from a young age that sugar-laden soda and snacks put you in the fast lane to cavity-ville. But sugary foods and drinks aren't the only consumables that harm your teeth. Here are three tooth decay offenders that your parents probably never warned you about.

1. Sugar-Free Drinks: The Not-So-Great Alternative To Regular Soda

After hearing repeatedly about the dangers of consuming sugary drinks, you likely think sugar-free is the way to go. However, not all sugar-free drinks are good for your pearly whites. In fact, oftentimes sugar-free beverages are downright bad for your teeth.

According to the Oral Health Cooperative Research Centre, many sugar-free drinks cause noticeable tooth surface loss. This is mostly due to the use of acidic additives in these products.

Always check to see if your beverages contain one or more of the following acidic ingredients:

  • Citric acid
  • Sodium citrate
  • Phosphoric acid
  • Tartrates

Limit your consumption of sugar-free drinks containing these ingredients—or avoid acidic beverages altogether.

2. Cough Syrup: Less Coughing, More Cavities

Your fridge isn't the only place containing drinks that covertly harm your teeth. Medicine cabinets frequently contain cough syrup, a veritable tooth decay ninja.

The medications in cough syrup taste bad—really bad—which is why these thick concoctions often contain corn syrup. And while corn syrup does mask the flavor of the medications (somewhat), it also increases your odds of getting cavities.

To make matters worse, many popular cough syrups contain alcohol, which decreases the amount of saliva in your mouth. Your teeth rely on saliva to protect them from sugar and acids. Consequently, cough medications that contain corn syrup and alcohol are doubly bad for you.

3. Antihistamines: No More Runny Nose...Or Tooth Enamel

Cough syrup isn't the only medicine that's harmful to your teeth. Antihistamines also cause dry mouth and an increased occurrence of tooth decay.

Antihistamines block histamine, which is great for your runny nose. But antihistamines also have the unfortunate side effect of preventing your salivary glands from releasing saliva. The result is an environment where teeth are vulnerable to decay and hypersensitivity.

Chances are at least one of the covert tooth decay offenders above is currently lurking in your home, so check your fridge and medicine cabinets. When possible, limit your consumption of these substances. And speak with your dentist if you have any questions regarding medications and unusual ingredients found in the products you consume. 

To learn more, contact a dentist like Dr. Susan Bracker, DDS