Are paediatric medicines risk factors for dental caries and dental erosion?

Community Dent Health. 2010 Mar;27(1):46-51.


The objective: To assess in vitro the cariogenic and erosive potentials of Brazilian liquid oral paediatric medicines.

Setting: Twenty-three paediatric medicines available on the Brazilian market were evaluated. The sample consisted of antihistamines, antitussives, bronchodilators and mucolytics.

Main outcome measures: Duplicates of each bottle were analyzed for sugar concentration using normal-phase- high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Quantification of sugars and sorbitol was calculated using the peak heights of commercial standards as references. pH measurements were determined using a digital pH meter. Titratable acidity was assessed by diluting three aliquots of each medicine, and increments of 0.1N NaOH were titrated until neutrality was reached. Viscosity was determined using a viscosemeter.

Results: Sugars were detected in 56.5% of the medicines. Sucrose was identified in 10 medicines, with concentrations ranging from 11.36 g% to 85.99 g%. Glucose was detected in five medicines, with concentrations varying from 4.64 g% to 40.19 g%; fructose in six medicines, with concentrations ranging from 5.09 g% to 46.71 g%. Twelve medicines exhibited sorbitol, with values ranging from 5.39 g% to 46.09 g%. Most tested medicines were acidic, with pH values ranging between 2.6 and 5.7. Only two medicines (Fluimucil and Polaramine) presented pH 6.4 and 6.0, respectively. Titratable acidity mean values ranged between 0.28 and 16.33 mL. Viscosity values varied between 2.8 cP and 412.3 cP.

Conclusions: Many paediatric medicines showed high sugar concentration, pH values below the critical value and high titratable acidity values, all of which increase the medicines' cariogenic and erosive potentials.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brazil
  • Cariogenic Agents
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Dental Caries / etiology*
  • Drug Carriers / adverse effects*
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions*
  • Fructose / adverse effects
  • Glucose / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / chemistry
  • Pharmaceutical Vehicles / adverse effects*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sucrose / adverse effects
  • Sweetening Agents / adverse effects
  • Tooth Erosion / etiology*
  • Viscosity


  • Cariogenic Agents
  • Drug Carriers
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Pharmaceutical Vehicles
  • Sweetening Agents
  • Fructose
  • Sucrose
  • Glucose