Dangers of the Common Cold to Your Oral Health

A box of tissues next to used tissues and a white mug when someone has the common cold
You may not think a cold can negatively affect your dental health, but it can! While the actual sickness may not directly harm your teeth, there are certain products used to alleviate common cold symptoms that can damage your teeth and mouth if you are not careful. In this article, we’ll delve into which ones so you can be prepared to better protect your teeth next time you feeling sick.

Cough Drops & Liquid Medicines

Both of these are often filled with sugar, while many liquid medicines like cough syrups may contain alcohol. Sugar is fuel for bacteria, and well-fed bacteria produce enamel-damaging acid that contributes to tooth decay. Meanwhile, alcohol inhibits saliva production and dries out your mouth. Saliva is critical because it neutralizes and reduces harmful acids in your mouth, coats your teeth in remineralizing agents, decreases the likelihood your teeth will decay, and keeps your mouth feeling comfortably moist.

Does that mean you have to avoid cough drops and medicines altogether? Not exactly. There are ways to alleviate negative dental side effects while taking these. Try to take your medicine with food and plenty of water, and take your medicine before brushing your teeth at night. If possible, try to get the pill form of medicines as opposed to liquids and use only sugar-free lozenges.


While decongestants dry out your nose to improve comfort and ease of breathing, they can also inhibit saliva production and dry out your mouth. A chronically dry mouth is at increased risk of gum infection and tooth decay. To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, be sure to drink plenty of water while using decongestants.

Hot Tea

Hot tea soothes sore throats, but it can also stain or erode your teeth, particularly black tea. Many people also add sugar or honey to their tea. If you must drink it, use a straw to minimize how much contact the liquid has with your teeth. Try to also limit your use of sugary sweeteners that promote decay.

Schedule Your Next Dental Checkup!

In addition to protecting your oral health when you have a cold, don’t forget that nothing beats daily at-home oral hygiene and regular dental checkups to keep your oral health in tip-top shape. If you haven’t already scheduled your next checkup, contact our team at Parkside Family Dental to set up your next appointment.

Contact us for more dental tips and ways to promote healthy teeth!

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