Are Gummy Vitamins Bad for Teeth

Posted on February 9, 2024 | First Time

Are Gummy Vitamins Bad for Teeth

There is a harsh reality that many of us face on a daily basis. 

“If it tastes sweet and yummy, it is probably bad for you.”

While fresh fruits and seasoned vegetables are clear exceptions to this statement, gummy vitamins don’t fully escape the stereotype. 

Even though gummy vitamins offer a variety of essential vitamins and minerals, they have potential to be harmful to teeth. Even citrus gummies which offer loads of vitamin C (the “scurvy-fighting” vitamin) are capable of causing tooth decay and cavities. 

But don’t throw out that bottle yet. Let’s get to know the enemy and see if there’s a way to have your vitamin—and eat it too. 

Gummy Vitamins May Contribute To Tooth Decay

The non-scientific version is that gummy vitamins are sticky and sugary, and therefore bad for teeth. The more technical explanation involves the creation of acid and breakdown of enamel.. 

Bacteria in the mouth feeds off sugar and converts it into more harmful substances that break down teeth. Gelatinous food debris adheres to teeth in hard to reach areas and gives the bacteria a safe haven for acid production. This perfect storm of sugar and stickiness make gummy vitamins a natural counterpart to oral care.

Even “sugar-free” gummies contain different flavorings and additives that can potentially weaken tooth enamel.

Smile-Friendly Alternatives to Gummy Vitamins

The ideal solution to gummy vitamin decay is a well-balanced nutritious diet—mixing-and-matching produce and nutrient-rich foods to give your child everything they need without the hassle of extra artificial sugar. However, we know that’s not always an option.

The perfect diet can be expensive, hard to plan, and hard to get a child to buy into. Gummy vitamins are going to beat brussel sprouts every time. 

So what are the alternatives? If your child prefers gummy vitamins, and you prefer to keep your child happy, we recommend that you pair gummies with the following:

  • Water – Having your child drink water directly after taking the gummies can rinse off some of the sugar and help wash down extra debris. 
  • Cleaning – Unfortunately, water likely won’t do the whole job, and you will also want to encourage your child to brush their teeth 30-60 minutes after consuming the vitamins. The vitamins actually soften tooth enamel, and brushing right away could cause additional wear and tear to the teeth. Drinking some water and waiting no less than an hour, followed by a good cleaning, can help mitigate most of the damage (don’t forget to floss!).
  • Food – While eating a meal with the vitamins has a minimal effect on protecting your teeth, it makes it easier to brush afterwards. Plus, vitamins are meant to provide minerals and amplify the vitamins your body can absorb, so consuming them with food actually makes them more effective. 

If your child isn’t already attached to the taste of gummy vitamins, here are some supplement alternatives that can help you deliver the good, without as much of the bad:

  • Non-Chewables – The most conventional delivery method for vitamins; pills and capsules are the most effective and least harmful to ingest alongside a meal. Unfortunately, pills can be difficult to swallow and leave a pretty unpleasant aftertaste. 
  • Chewables – Chewable vitamins often contain sugar and flavorings as well, but the chalky residue is more easily cleaned than the sticky gelatin of a gummy vitamin. 
  • Dissolvables – Vitamins that simply dissolve in the child’s mouth without chewing or swallowing can provide the same benefit without even getting the teeth involved, though they should still drink water after.
  • Enriched Food and Beverages – If all else fails, it’s usually pretty easy to push vitamin-fortified foods like yogurt or oatmeal. Not to mention products like PediaSure and carnation milk, that taste delicious and don’t seem too far from regular foods. 

If you want to get your child their essential vitamins, but you’re unsure about how to move forward, do not hesitate to reach out to oral-care specialists for advice. 

Blossom’s Take on Gummy Vitamins

The takeaway from this article isn’t supposed to be that gummy vitamins are bad for children. If properly administered, they still provide a multitude of benefits related to health and growth. The important part is this: gummy vitamins are a dessert. It may also be beneficial to give the gummy vitamins in the morning, so that saliva has a chance during the day to cleanse the teeth, rather than right before bed, when salivary flow tends to decrease.

Gummies should be treated like candy—eaten with a meal, taken in moderation, followed by water, and quickly being countered with toothpaste. 

If you’re concerned about any potential damage to your children’s teeth from gummy vitamins, or want to make sure you’ve got it right moving forward, reach out to the experts at Blossom Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics. We’ll look for cavities, tooth decay, and other signs of damage from acid buildup.

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