Swallowing vitamins can feel like a chore, and some children and adults have difficulty swallowing pills, especially large ones. Gummy vitamins seem like a fun and tasty way to ensure that you get the nutrients or supplements that you need. While they may have started out as a way to make vitamins more appealing to children, plenty of adults now use them as well. But are they hurting your teeth?
High Sugar Content
If you’ve ever accidentally bitten down on a vitamin that was meant to be swallowed whole, you probably remember the taste. Vitamins may be good for you, but they tend to have a bitter and unpleasant taste. So why do gummy vitamins taste like candy or fruit snacks? The answer is simple: lots and lots of sugar.
Bacteria that naturally occur in your mouth consume the sugars that are left behind on your teeth and convert it into acid. That acid is what wears away your tooth enamel and causes cavities.
Of course, you could always opt for sugar-free gummy vitamins. These contain artificial sweeteners that may not be as likely to harm your teeth. But another component of gummy vitamins is the citric acid used to give them their fruity flavors. Remember, acid is what really wears away your enamel.
A Sticky Situation
It’s easy to think that the effects of gummy vitamins on your teeth will be minimal. After all, you’re not chowing down on a whole bag of gummy bears – you’re probably only taking one or a few vitamins at a time.
The problem is that the sticky consistency of the gummies can leave residue on your teeth that lasts for hours. Sugars left on your teeth from less clingy substances can more easily be washed away by your saliva if you can’t brush right away, but the sugar and acid from gummy candy or vitamins tend to hang around.
Your best bet is to opt for non-chewable vitamins, although if you have difficulty swallowing, liquid vitamins or the powdery type of chewable vitamins leave residue that is easier to clean off your teeth. If gummy vitamins are the only tolerable option for you, make sure to take them at a time and place when you can brush your teeth afterward.