Cavity Culprits: Gummy Vitamins

As moms, we want to make sure that our kids are healthy and happy. It’s difficult to make sure that your child is eating all their fruits & veggies (especially if the dog is the one gaining weight) and getting all their vitamins. So you pop a gummy vitamin in their mouth and send them on their way, knowing they’ll eat ‘em up like candy while you bask in the knowledge that you’re meeting their nutritional needs.

Yes, but…

You’re basically giving them vitamin-enhanced candy. Gummy candy is traditionally made from a mixture of sugar, glucose syrup, starch, flavoring, food coloring, citric acid, and gelatin. Now look at the label on your gummy vitamins and you’ll see sugars, gelatin, citric acid, flavoring, and coloring.

Not much difference except for the vitamins and minerals. And the effect on your child’s teeth won’t be any different either.

A Double Whammy

Both gummy candy and gummy vitamins contain citric acid and sugars. While citric acid is an organic compound found in most fruits & veggies (it’s most concentrated in citrus fruits), it’s also used as a preservative and to flavor foods and beverages. The problem with citric acid can be found in its name: acid. Citric acid dissolves tooth enamel and, in children, this is especially problematic since their tooth enamel is softer than an adult’s. Once the enamel breaks down, bacteria can invade and cause tooth decay.

So you have citric acid dissolving the tooth enamel and then you having sugars feeding the bacteria that take up residence. The bacteria when exposed to sugar, produces an acid that erodes tooth enamel. The result is a double attack on your child’s teeth!

The Gummy Factor

Gummy candy, gummy vitamins. They’re named gummy for a reason – they are super sticky! They cling to teeth like glue, giving the sugar and citric acid more time to do their damage. Saliva can’t wash it away and even rinsing doesn’t work. They’re a dental nightmare!

If you can’t switch to chewable vitamins (they dissolve), make sure to give your kids their vitamins (anything with sugar should be eaten with a meal) during the meal. Saliva production increases during eating and helps get rid of residue. Afterward, make sure they brush their teeth really well. Then you can bask in the knowledge that not only are their bodies healthy, but their smiles are too!