We’ve all been there – trying to get our little ones to eat nutritious and healthy meals can be challenging, and sometimes we cave and give them a less wholesome option. We can’t really force our kids to eat everything we want so many parents elect to supplement their child’s diets with vitamins, a popular option being gummy vitamins.
We get the idea that gummy vitamins are good for our children. They contain vitamins and minerals, and what’s great is that kids love to eat them. So, it’s win-win, right? Unfortunately while gummy vitamins contain ingredients that support healthy growth and development, they can also be harmful to a child’s teeth.
The first two ingredients typically listed on the product labels of these vitamins are glucose syrup and sucrose. Glucose syrup is sweet, made from a mixture of water and glucose, and is also known as corn syrup. The second ingredient, sucrose, is just the technical name for table sugar, cane sugar or white sugar. These ingredients help give the gummy vitamins the candy-like flavor that kids love, but really, we are still giving them sugar.
Once the sugar from the gummy vitamin is in the mouth and sticks to the teeth, the bacteria that processes those sugars creates acid that can cause tooth decay. The stickiness of the gummy vitamin adheres to the teeth, thus allowing the bacteria to thrive. Another problem is that the sticky texture in gummy vitamins can also pull off sealants and dental fillings. We may also want to think about the message we are sending to our kids -do we really want our kids growing up thinking gummy candies are good for them?
If you feel it’s necessary to give your child a multivitamin, opt for a liquid multi-vitamin, which can mix easily with other foods or liquids. Liquid supplements are preferable to tablets for maximal absorption because liquids are readily absorbed in the body and do not need to be broken down for the active ingredients to be released. Liquid vitamins and minerals are also somewhat safer to store in your home than chewable tablets because they are not typically mistaken for candy. Giving your toddler liquid vitamins also prevents the possibility your toddler will choke on a pill or tablet.
Always consult your doctor to make sure your child needs supplemental vitamins. Continue to get vitamins from real-food sources. Your child should ideally be consuming a balanced variety of fresh and healthy food selections and eating meals rich in vitamins and minerals.
For more information, please visit us at childrensdentistry.com
Abram, Kate. Liquid Vitamins and Minerals for Toddlers. June 1, 2011. http://www.livestrong.com/article/460658-liquid-vitamins-and-minerals-for-toddlers/
Irene, Sarah. Gummy Vites Ingredients. March 28, 2011. http://www.livestrong.com/article/26466-gummy-vites-ingredients/
Marcus, Mary Brophy. Gummy Vitamins, Rotten Teeth? September 24, 2007. http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2007-09-23-gummy-vitamins_N.htm