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aspartame in sugar free cough drops

What cough drop should I use?

It’s getting to be that time of the year again. The holiday spirit is rising but temperatures are dropping and noses are sniffling. Yes, I am talking about cold season.

Cold season is upon us and that means millions of people will be reaching for a cough drop to soothe their achy throats. But there’s something we don’t often think about when it comes to cough drops. Coughdrops are actually, pretty much just candy.

And as your dental hygienists, you know, we can’t really recommend munching on candy, day in and day out. But, we get colds too, so we definitely get it.

Let’s consider our options.

  1. Sugar
  2. Arificially Sweetened
  3. Herbal
  4. Xylitol

The first is the obvious one – sweetened with sugar. Bad for obvious reasons. But it’s important to note how it’s bad.

When it comes to sugar, it’s important to remember that frequency is a bigger factor than quantity. So when it comes to soothing your throat with cough drops, that becomes a really big factor.

Typically, you won’t get over your sickness in just one day. And definitely not in the time it takes for one cough drop to dissolve. In fact, in one single day, it’s easy to actually lose track of how many pieces you go through.

It takes your mouth at least 30-45 minutes for it to recover to a normal state.  So, if you’re serially dissolving cough drops, one after another, then your mouth never really recovers. This creates a ripe environment for cavities.

But the next option comes with its own set of cons. Most sugar-free cough drops are sweetened with Aspartame. So, that’s not an option for many, as plenty of evidence is out there on the negative side effects of consuming this chemical.

What about herbal cough drops? Sounds healthier, right? Well. Might just be good marketing.

Herbal cough drops are often sweetened with honey. Honey is basically just sugar. Fructose, to be precise. And all sugars create the right environment for bacteria to grow in your mouth.

So what is one to do? Well, there’s no 100% clear answer here if these are our only options. I’d say if you’re going to go to sleep with one in your cheek, it’s probably better to choose the sugar-free version, even if it is sweetened with Aspartame.

But, these are not our only options. Xylitol cough drops are sweetened with a naturally derived sweetener that actually also fights cavities. This is the same sweetener found in the popular candy (with my kids) called, Ice Chips. It tastes great, fights cavities, and is all natural. So, that’s definitely my recommendation.

But Xylitol cough drops aren’t cheap. And they can be hard to find (see photo left).

I’ve seen Xylitol cough drops that can go for around $5-$7 for a 30 ct. bag. So, while I might make the case that the value of protecting the health of your teeth outweighs the higher cost there, I totally understand that this just might not be an option.

If that’s the case, if you can limit the frequency of use during the day, go with Herbal but brush more while using the drops.

And if you’re not near a toothbrush, you can get your mouth back to balance and naturally fighting cavities by simply drinking water. Yes! It’s as simple as that!  Drink some water after a cough drop to send your mouth back to a stable environment.  Rinse and repeat if you are going to use multiple cough drops.

Nicole Dental Hygienist Dentist

Preventive Care vs. Reactive Care

Nicole here! I’d like to show you the difference between preventive and reactive dental care. First, let’s talk definitions.

Preventive (adj.): designed to keep something undesirable such as illness, harm, or accidents from occurring 

Reactive (adj.):  done in response to a problem or situation instead of doing something to prevent it  

You can see where this is going.

So inevitably, you start to feel a little pain but not so much that it’s too unbearable. And, you react.

But if the pain isn’t too bad, maybe you just promise yourself you’ll brush more and just kind of wait and see.

But then it happens. You’re out eating ice cream one day and boom.

And your first reaction, of course, is to be like, “I have to go to the dentist in Oklahoma City, whatever it costs.”

Our financial priorities tend to change when we’re in immediate pain. That’s reactive dental care. And it can be an… investment. It will almost always cost more to fix a problem than to prevent it.

Preventive Care is definitely something to smile about. So, that’s what we call it. Smile Dental Care.

Smile Care is continuous, preventive care. It means that in addition to taking care of your teeth at home, every six months you come in for professional OKC teeth cleaning & exam.

You can spot problems before they get too out of hand and in many cases, prevent them altogether.

And now, you can set your preventive care on auto-pilot. Smile Care is our in-house dental savings membership club.

That’s a lot of words, I know.

You pay low-monthly dues and you’ll never have to worry about coming up with the extra cash every six months when it’s time for your regular cleaning and checkup. Because it’s included, 100%.

Now, that’s something to smile about.

Dental implants have revolutionized dentistry. In the past, we would do everything we could to save a tooth. That might include: root canal therapy, buildups, crowns, orthodontic extrusion, and even crown lengthening periodontal surgery. We were forced in the past to be heroes in saving teeth that were severely broken down. In the end, the tooth was compromised structurally. Therefore, their investment of time money and dental experiences gave them a tooth that was not so durable. Dr. Kaltio from Franklin Cosmetic Dentistry once stated, “With dental implants you get as close to permanent dentistry in OKC as you can, because the implant sets the proper foundation for the tooth/teeth”.

Bad Oral Hygiene Causes Breakdown

Not all teeth fail because of engineering. Lots of teeth fail because of cavities, created by mouth neglect. Cavities are the number one infectious disease worldwide. So, when these structurally compromised teeth are older they become failed teeth. They create an unwinnable situation, but implants are changing that. Implants are restoring mouth functionality and maximizing smiles through creating lasting structure.

Why Implants Are a Long-Term Solution

Structurally, an implant is incredibly durable. There are very very few complications that occur from a structural standpoint regarding implants. The surgical grade of titanium that is used is biocompatible and durable. The current engineering design of implants is the best it’s ever been. The current biological design of implants, their services, is the best that it’s ever been.

Flexibility With Implants

You can replace single teeth with implants. You can replace groups of teeth with implants. You can replace the entire upper or lower teeth with implants. Implants are able to restore your full mouth functionality. It’s single-handedly revolutionized dentures, as well. For those that still where denture implants it improves their fit and retention. Implants can completely support a full arch of teeth that don’t have to be removed, don’t cause sore spots on the gums, allow for eating the foods that one loves, allow for talking in socials situations with complete confidence. Bottom line, implants get as close to permanent dentistry as you can get.

Your Dental Implant Solution

To learn more about restoring your mouth functionality and maximizing your smile, call Reflections Dental Care at 405-563-7097 to set up a consultation. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

– Lance R Schmidt D.D.S.

A native of Oklahoma City, Dr. Schmidt attended the University of Oklahoma, receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in Health and Sport Sciences. In continued pursuit of his dreams, Dr. Schmidt went on to earn a Doctorate of Dental Surgery at the University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry.

Dr. Schmidt’s commitment to excellence was evident even during his educational years, during which time he was awarded one of five spaces in the renowned Advanced Education in General Dentistry residency program. He attributes his ongoing excellence in dentistry partly to the twelve months spent dedicated to the comprehensive, high-level learning, which covered general care, cosmetic dentistry, full mouth reconstruction and, his special interest in dental implants.

Dr. Schmidt holds membership with the American Dental Association and the Spear Study Club. A few times a year, he completes advanced training at the prestigious Scottsdale Center for Dentistry. Dr. Schmidt has also served as Board President for the Redbud Classic (2013).