Are Chidrens’ vitamins good for their teeth?
At UCLA Dental school In 1976 my out of shape British human physiology MD/professor’s famous comment on nutrition and vitamins was “When I feel like I need some vitamins I put a piece of lettuce on my wimpy(hamburger) once a week” He was also the teacher for the medical students and that may explain why it has taken traditional medicine so long to recognize the importance of nutrition. Today the pendulum has swung the other way with supplements being pushed like candy to a baby especially vitamins for children. In fact gummy vitamins are just like candy causing the same problems for childrens’ teeth. I believe a balanced diet and nutrition are important, my problem is that I have seen vitamin supplements damage young childrens’ teeth.
Yummy gummy vitamins, what a great way to get kids their required nutrients. Right? Unfortunately we have seen numerous young children who develop cavaties after their well meaning parents begin them on a regimen of gummy vitamins. Gummy vitamins in large part are just chewy candy with a healthy sounding name. Grab a bag of gummy bears and a bottle of gummy vitamins. Start reading the ingredients: sugar, gum, colors, vitamin c. Similar name and similar ingredients. Similar result: cavaties.
What is in gummy vitamins?
Two grams of carbohydrate, a complex sugar, one gram of simple sugar, Ascorbic acid(vitamin C), folic acid, pantothenic acid. Now all these acids may be good for us when we eat them with food but when they are stuck in the grooves of developing teeth by the gum sorbate they cause trouble. As an example:
Vitamin c is good for you contributing to all sorts of bodily functions: connective tissue repair, immune response etc. but when chewed into the grooves of teeth it causes problems. The formal scientific name for vitamin c is ascorbic acid. Its this acid property that causes the problem especially when it sticks in the groove of developing teeth. Teeth are actually softer, and easier to melt when they first erupt in the mouth so children are the most effected. Would you knowingly pack sticky acid into teeth given that we all know that acid created by bacteria is damaging to teeth? The word acid attached to a substance is just a description of a property. In large part all these acids share properties destructive to teeth; they dissolve enamel.
Are Chewable vitamins an alternative?
Chewable vitamins are not like gummy bears they are like sweet tarts, sweet from sugar and tart from the taste of acid. Instead of being sticky the sugar and acid are simply stuck/cemented and packed into the grooves of the teeth. Simply chew one yourself and then spend the next 10 minutes trying to get the stuff out of the grooves of your back teeth. Not what you want
Vitamin makers are trying to address these problems with artificial sweeteners( who knows what problems they can cause) but we are still left with acids that are vitamins stuck in the teeth. My suggestion is to have your children eat a balanced diet with maybe more than just a piece of lettuce on their “wimpy” once a week.