When Gummys attack

Darcy asked: “I was once told(by a pediatrician) gummy type vitamins were bad for a child’s teeth and I should use the Flintstones type vitamins as a better alternative. What is in gummy vitamins that are making them so horrible for a child’s teeth? Honestly, if it the same type of “bad” for my daughter’s teeth as a regular gummy bear I would much rather give her these. She hates the Flintstones type vitamin. Thanks!”

I’ve got here a bottle of Gummy Vites, and the first two listed ingredients are “glucose syrup (corn), sucrose”. Either of these are essentially sugars, which aren’t great to have on your teeth. But they aren’t very big; each 2-gummy dose contains about the equivalent of one teaspoon of table sugar. You could give these before toothbrushing at bedtime, or have your child wash ‘em down with water. In the big picture, I doubt this amount of sugar would make much difference. I can’t imagine what would make a Gummy Vite worse than a regular gummy bear.

The first ingredient of Flintstones is sorbitol, a poorly-digested sugar that doesn’t contribute to tooth decay. What it can contribute to is loose stools and gas—sorbitol is a laxative. But, again, the amount in Flintstones is pretty small, and I doubt anyone would notice the difference.

If your daughter prefers the Gummys, go ahead and use them. They’re perfectly good vitamins, and fighting to get her to chew on Fred or Barney every morning doesn’t sound like it’s worth the yabba dabba doo time.

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4 Comments on “When Gummys attack”

  1. Darcy Says:

    Thank you Thank you thank you!


  2. Poornima Says:

    Awesome post. Very informative..


  3. Kelly Frommer Says:

    I enjoyed reading your take about the types of vitamins. In fact, I enjoy reading all of your posts – great mix of humor, common sense and interesting topics! The vitamin post made me wonder… I don’t give either my 1 year old or my 3 year old any kind of vitamin. Is there a good rule of thumb about whether kids need a vitamin at all? Or should I ask my pediatrician about that when we visit next? 🙂


  4. Dr. Roy Says:

    Thanks for your kind comments!

    In many ways, our children are awash in vitamins already– look at the ingredients of any bread or grain or cereal, and you’ve got a multivitamin right there. Likewise, milk is fortified, salt has iodine, and even the water has flouride! So I used to say: as long as your child has a reasonably varied diet, no extra vitamins are really needed.

    However, recent research is showing that many children (and adults) are deficient in vitamin D, which is important not only in bone health but also for proper immune functioning. Adequate vitamin D also appears to protect against certain cancers. In the past, we used to get plenty of vitamin D from sunshine, but with many people spending less time outdoors (and more time applying sunscreen), we’ve gotten behind in vitamin D consumption. The AAP just this month issued a new recommendation that essentially all children should take a vitamin D supplement. I agree with this, and I’ll write more about it soon.

    If you do want to give vitamins, choose an inexpensive brand or generic. There is absolutely no benefit to the fancy, premium vitamins that are often sold as part of multilevel marketing schemes. Save your money!


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