It’s hard to imagine a vitamin that isn’t beneficial for kids and their growing bodies. All vitamins are good, right? In theory, yes–vitamins provide essential nutrients that can boost your child’s growth and development. The key is what type of vitamin you choose to give them.
Gummy vitamins, with their brightly colored packaging, sweet taste, and candy-like appearance, are a huge hit with kids. Unfortunately, gummy vitamins also contribute to overall sugar consumption in your child’s diet and can wreak havoc on their tooth enamel.
Here’s a recap of everything you need to know about gummy vitamins and what vitamin alternatives are better for your child’s teeth.
A fun alternative to plain vitamins
Gummy vitamins have been available for decades, since vitamin companies discovered this new way to make vitamin consumption more appealing to kids. And it’s understandable–even some adults struggle to swallow large non-chewable vitamins, many of which still have an unpleasant aftertaste. Today, kids can choose from colorful gummy vitamins shaped like superheroes, cartoon characters, their favorite fruits, and more. Best of all, they taste like candy!
So, what’s not to love about gummy vitamins? Quite a lot, actually. But before we get into the reasons why gummy vitamins aren’t very tooth-friendly, let’s talk about what they do and don’t contain.
Not all gummy vitamins are created equally
Most gummy vitamins contain the major vitamins–vitamin A, C, D, E, and several B vitamins–but don’t contain many of the minerals found in solid vitamins. Most also don’t contain iron or calcium.
All types and levels of vitamins vary from brand to brand, so it’s important to check the vitamin’s label before purchasing it. For example, one brand of gummy vitamins may contain 100% of the recommended daily allowance for vitamin C, while another contains only 50%.
Sugar and citric acid aren’t so sweet for teeth
It’s no mystery why gummy vitamins taste like candy–they are usually loaded with sugar, which can cause major tooth trouble. The bacteria that is naturally present in your child’s mouth loves to feed on sugar, producing more acid as a result. And with more acid comes even more risk of tooth decay and cavities.
There are numerous sugar-free gummy vitamins on the market today, but don’t be fooled by the popular opinion that sugar-free equals safe for teeth. Even though sugar-free gummy vitamins do not contain sugar, they still contain citric acid.
Citric acid gives sugar-free gummy vitamins the fruity flavor that kids love. But as we mentioned above, acid is what really wears away at your child’s tooth enamel. It’s very similar to diet and sugar-free sodas that don’t contain sugar, but still have high amounts of acid that can cause tooth decay and other oral health problems.
A sticky situation
Gummy vitamins are also exactly that–gummy. Most parents think that the effects of eating a gummy vitamin or two each day will be minimal. After all, it’s not like your child is eating a bag of candy! The problem is that gummy vitamins (or gummy candies or “fruit” snacks or anything else in the gummy category) often leave a sticky residue that adheres to the grooves of your child’s teeth. This residue can remain for hours and doesn’t get washed away by your child’s saliva as easily as other foods, allowing mouth bacteria to thrive.
Alternatives to gummy vitamins
Thankfully, there are many alternatives to gummy vitamins, such as Flintstones Complete and Centrum Kids Multivitamin. Non-chewable vitamins are the best choice, as long as your child can safely swallow them. If not, chewable vitamins (which leave less residue on your child’s teeth than gummy vitamins) and liquid vitamins are also good options.
If gummy vitamins are the only tolerable option for your child, that’s okay. Just make sure they take them when and where they can brush their teeth immediately afterward–perhaps before bedtime or after they wake in the morning.
Kudos to you for incorporating vitamins into your child’s diet. With the right kind of vitamin and proper dental care, you can give your child a healthy smile to match their healthy body.
Patient-centered care is just a phone call away
At Southmoor Pediatric Dentistry, we know that dental health is an essential part of overall health, and we truly care about helping kids and their parents every step of the way. It’s our job to keep you both smiling – and we’re great at it! From the moment you walk into our office, you’ll see and feel the Southmoor difference. To schedule an appointment, contact us today.