Gummy Vitamins

Published on 7 June 2023 at 21:27

Gummy vitamins and candies have become increasingly popular.  At least five times a day I have the gummy vitamin discussion with a parent.  Breaking the news to caregivers that their child will need extensive dental work to repair decay in deciduous molars because of gummy vitamin use is frustrating!  These parents are trying to take excellent care of their child by making sure they have all their nutritional needs met, but have inadvertently caused potentially serious dental issues.  We as providers are disappointed in the gummy vitamin industry as a whole.

The dentist who owns the practice I am at now, Dr. Rob Mansman, has said numerous times around the office that he cannot believe there has not been a class action lawsuit against gummy vitamin manufacturers yet.  To add insult to injury, most children do not need vitamin and mineral supplements because they receive adequate nutrition in their diets.

How should we be addressing this unofficial crisis in pediatric dental patients? Education. We all know we are dental educators above all else.  Here are some talking points and stats to help with effective, concise discussions with caregivers. Similar to my Lupus post, I have included a printable for your convenience.  Please feel free to use this educational tool in your practice!

Gummy Vitamin 101:

  • Three main ingredients in gummy vitamins and snacks cause tooth decay
    • Citric acid: commonly found in foods, virtually harmless to enamel when exposed for short periods.
    • Sugar.  I will not insult your intelligence on this.
    • Gelatin: mixed with cornstarch and sugars makes a sticky goo that is not readily removed by saliva, chewing, or toothbrushing.
  • False advertising is at the heart of this industry.  It is not readily clear on labels that there is minimal nutrition per gummy, often two or more gummies are needed per dose, and there are no label warnings about potential for dental decay.
  • Parents sometimes seem to believe vitamin supplementation is necessary.  Vitamins supplements should only be given if recommended by the child's physician.
  • Sugars are rampant in our diets in general.  Caregivers and patients should be reminded that unprocessed fruits and vegetables, meats, and grains should be the bulk of our daily food intake, and sweets should be few and far between.  Encourage food and snack choices with less sugars such as cheese, yogurt, nuts, fruits, or hummus. 

 

As always, be the dental cheerleader for the families in your practice! Focus on positives (the decay can be treated and this can be prevented in the future) offer suggestions and resources, and do not get discouraged if you need to repeat your messages over the course of several visits.  Patients and parents are listening, even when they may not seem to be. 

Drop me your comments, suggestions, and advice below, and thank you for being part of the Twenty Tiny tribe!

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Comments

Stephanie Redwine
a year ago

Thank you for getting this important information out!

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