Children require adequate amounts of nutrients for proper growth and development. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vitamin D, zinc, and iron are some of the most important nutrients for growing children.
Of course, food is the best source of nutrients. Serving your child nutritious meals and snacks provides all the nutrients that healthy children need to thrive. However, you might have a picky eater, a child with a restrictive diet, a child with a chronic disease or food allergies, or a child with a delay in physical or developmental growth. A vitamin supplement may be recommended by your child’s physician to fill nutritional gaps.
When it comes to vitamins, there are several options currently on the market. Among the most popular for children are gummy vitamins. Gummy vitamins can be found in a variety of flavors and shapes; however, they do pose some dental health concerns.
Why Some Parents Choose Gummy Vitamins
Gummy vitamins have become a common choice for parents of young children. They tend to be much more palatable. They are generally sweet and can be chewed rather than requiring a child to swallow a pill. Many young children view gummy vitamins as a treat and are willing to take them without a struggle.
There are also many types of gummy vitamins on the market, including gummies that include vitamins A, B, C, D, and E, as well as calcium, zinc, and other essential nutrients.
Effects of Gummy Vitamins on Children’s Teeth
While gummy vitamins can be a great way for children to receive the nutrients their diets lack, there are widespread concerns about the oral health risks. The biggest concern is their link to increased tooth decay.
Like many sugary candies on the market, gummy vitamins can contribute to cavities in children. Many gummies contain sugars or artificial sweeteners, as well as citric acid. These ingredients can be harsh on teeth and the sticky texture of gummies causes long-term exposure to tooth enamel.
When a child consumes a gummy vitamin, bacteria in the mouth feed on the sugar and produce harmful acids that attack tooth enamel. As sticky gummies can be harder to clean when brushing, there is also an increased risk of cavities.
To make gummy vitamins appear more visually appetizing, most contain artificial food colorings and dyes. In addition to being a health risk to people with dye sensitivities, artificially-colored gummies can cause staining or discoloration on your child’s teeth.
Of course, it isn’t just your child’s teeth and gums that you have to be concerned about. Gummy vitamins look just like regular gummies and their sweet taste poses a risk of overdose. Your child could confuse vitamin gummies for candy and consume more than the suggested amount, potentially leading to serious health consequences.
It’s also important to note that most gummies have fewer vitamins and minerals than the pill form. Gummy vitamins also tend to lose their potency much quicker than pills, meaning it’s more difficult to predict how long gummy vitamins will last on the shelf.
Alternatives to Gummy Vitamins
Dr. Lindsay Maples and Dr. Chris Klekamp recommend chewable vitamins over gummies. There are many benefits of chewable vitamins. They are typically small and easy for a toddler or child to chew and swallow and are cleared from the mouth much quicker than sticky, sugary gummies.
Gummy vitamins often contain fillers and ingredients that do not contribute to overall health, whereas chewable vitamins are often void of these ingredients. There is significantly less sugar in chewable vitamins as well, which is great for overall dental and physical health.
Schedule An Appointment
It’s important to keep regular appointments with your child’s dentist in addition to a home dental routine. Routine appointments allow us to catch oral health problems early and protect teeth with services like fluoride and sealants.To learn more or to schedule an appointment with our pediatric dentist, contact Ponte Vedra Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics online or by calling our office at (904) 373-5120.