Department of Neurology

Tegretol and teeth

Q: My son has been taking chewable tegretol for 2 yrs. now . His back right molar is very black and infected. We have tried to take care of his teeth. I was wondering if the tegretol that is left in his mouth after he chews it up could have an effect on his teeth in any way. He has to have 2 root canals at the age of 4.

Thank you for your time,
God Bless You

A: Tegretol itself is not known to cause tooth decay as you describe. However, like most pills, it is made with starch and sugar. If your son keeps pieces in his mouth for a long time, for example, during sleep, this could lead to decay.

For that matter, any food that is retained in the mouth could do the same. An infamous cause is when children sleep with a bottle of milk in their mouth.

You might consider switching to Tegretol suspension and have him drink water afterwards to flush out the remaining suspension from his mouth.

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