Every parent is familiar with “gummy” candy. They’re small, rubbery little candies that kids love. Gummy candies come in endless colors, flavors and shapes—worms, astronauts, flowers, mushrooms, crayons—you name it, there’s a gummy in that shape. Some even have a textured, sugary glaze on them. Yes, gummies are yummy. So yummy, in fact, that children’s vitamin manufacturers have extended the qualities of gummy candies to vitamins. And they are flying off the shelves as well-meaning parents purchase bottle after bottle to supplement their children’s nutrition.
Good parents give their kids healthy foods, set limits on TV and iPad time, encourage them to play outdoors, enroll them in gymnastics, dance and sports activities, make sure they brush and floss daily, and take them to the pediatric dentist and pediatrician regularly. They often give their children a daily multi-vitamin to compensate for any potential nutritional lack due to their child’s appetite levels or food preferences. What parents might not know is that gummy vitamins contain 3-5 grams of sugar and, like gummy candy, that sugar creates cavities.
Sweet and Sticky: A Bad Dental Combo
While all candies contain sugars, which we know can damage teeth, gummies are a step beyond because of their stickiness. Gummy vitamins, like fruit leathers, fruit snacks and even raisins, have a combination of sweet + sticky=bad for teeth! Unlike chocolate, for example, the gelatin in gummy candies and gummy vitamins enables the sugar to literally cling to your child’s teeth long after the candies or vitamins are eaten. This level of exposure is what sets gummy vitamins and candies apart from other sweet treats
I advise my New York pediatric dental patients to chose a non-gummy, chewable children’s vitamin. These vitamins have less surgar and no sticky gelatin to encourage cavities. While not pushing any brand in particular, I notice that the Honest Company has organic children’s vitamins with only 1 gram of fruit sugar and they offer a free trial!
If your child eats gummy vitamins, fruit leathers and similar treats, please be sure he brushes immediately after eating either gummy vitamins or fruit leathers. And, although fruit leathers, strips and similar treats are easy to eat without making a mess, fruit is really a better choice than fruit-flavored treats, even the organic ones.
My career is dedicated to fostering the dental health of generations of children. Enabling you, as a parent, to make the best choices for your child’s dental health is one of my goals.