Acidogenic Potential of “Sugar-Free” Cough Drops

The Open Dentistry Journal 6 Mar 2009 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/1874210600903010026


A patient presented with extensive marginal ditching around restorations recently placed during whole-mouth rehabilitation. The patient was not xerostomic and was otherwise normal except for the self-reported excessive use of “sugar-free” cough drops sweetened with sorbitol and Isomalt® (an equimolar mix of glucosyl-mannitol and glucosylsorbitol). This prompted an in vitro investigation to determine whether Streptococcus sobrinus 6715, a cariogenic streptococcus, could grow and produce acid in growth medium containing an aqueous extract of such “sugar-free” cough drops. The results indicate that S. sobrinus 6715 uses Isomalt® and sorbitol extensively, producing terminal culture pH as low as 4.2 when grown on medium with cough drop extract containing these sugars. This pH is sufficient to demineralize dental enamel. Patients should be cautioned against the chronic overuse of “sugar-free” cough drops and other “sugar-free” confections sweetened with a mixture of Isomalt® and sorbitol.

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