Gummy bears—and candies in general—have always been well known for being bad for your teeth, but now they have taken on a new role as a health food product. Gummy vitamins have found a solid place on supplement aisles, as ironic as that may sound. However, it’s not too surprising. After all, kids love gummy bears, and making them healthy just seems like a good idea.
But is it really? Here, we’ll look at a few of the pros and cons of gummy vitamins and your teeth to see whether they might not actually be the worst idea ever.
A Few Pros of Gummy Vitamins
It’s actually quite clever to inject a tasty treat with all the vitamins and minerals your child will need for the day. This makes taking your vitamins quite appealing, and it affords a few benefits. These include:
- No struggle: Kids like sweet, chewy candies (as do most adults), so gummy supplements are an easy way to get your children the vitamins they need without having to win an impossible argument or resort to force-feeding.
- Easy to swallow: For children who can’t—or won’t—swallow whole pills, gummy vitamins provide an easy solution. They can be chewed and swallowed with no fuss or risk of choking.
- Additional vitamins: Finally, of course, there’s the fact that they do provide important vitamins. These usually include vitamins A, B, C, D, and E, zinc, calcium, and various others, all of which help fill in some of the gaps left by your child’s normal diet.
In general, the American diet is deficient in certain vitamins, making a supplement a fairly easy way to get missing nutrients. Producing that supplement in gummy form makes it even easier, and in many cases children will not only gladly take their vitamins, but ask for more.
And Now the Cons
Of course, the fact that your child may beg you for more gummies should be a red flag. Coating a nutritional supplement in sticky, delicious sugar comes with its own risks, among which are the following:
- Risk of overdose: The appealing, sweet taste of gummy vitamins poses a risk for overdose. Some companies are careful not to include certain nutrients that could be dangerous if taken in excess. Others not so much. There are numerous cases of parents taking their children to the emergency room due to them downing the entire bottle.
- Tooth decay: It’s only a small amount per supplement, but sugar still feeds bacteria. The fact that the sugar is in gummy form makes it more likely to stick to teeth, increasing the odds of bacteria growth, plaque, and tooth decay.
- Weaker than normal multivitamins: In general, gummy vitamins actually contain less in the way of vitamin content than regular multivitamins, making them less effective while still introducing a bit of extra sugar into your diet.
The risks posed by gummy vitamins makes them far more harmful than helpful in many cases. Combining candy with vitamins may not necessarily be the worst idea ever, but it certainly isn’t the best one either.
What to Do
If you’re already using gummy vitamins, there are some ways you can reduce the risks. Try including vitamins with meals instead of making them a treat, educate your child on the need to eat healthy, and help them form good dental hygiene habits. Make sure they understand that their vitamins are there to help them get those extra nutrients they might not get from food alone.
Also, it’s never a bad idea to switch to other options. Consider preparing healthier meals or switching to chewable tablets that won’t stick to your child’s teeth. These options can eliminate the risks of gummy vitamins and your teeth while promoting overall health.