By: Ken Harvey, Eliza Li, Rosemary Stanton, and Stuart Dashper, The Conversation, www.medicalxpress.com
There are many brands of kids’ “gummies” on the market. They are promoted as deliciously flavored and a great way for growing bodies (and fussy eaters) to get the nutrients they need.
The “active” ingredients are usually listed as vitamins, minerals and sometimes omega-3 fats and vegetable powders. They may say “contains sugars” or they may not. Rarely, some list an amount of sugar and other ingredients such as food acids like citric acid, lactic acid and ascorbic acid.
In our opinion, these products are unhealthy and exploitative. Their high sugar content may appeal to young children, but they’re not a good introduction to a healthy diet.
The problem of tooth decay
Dental caries are a significant Australian public health problem. In 2014-15, A$9.5 billion was spent on dental services in Australia, up from $6.1 billion in 2007–08.
In Australia, around 50% of children start primary school with largely untreated cavities. In Victoria, 7.1% of children aged under 12 have had a general anesthetic for dental treatment.
Sugars provide food for the bacteria that dissolve tooth enamel. As sugar consumption increases, so do cavities. This damage is irreparable and individuals are left with life-long problems that require fillings, and possibly root canal work or extractions.
In addition, food acid (especially citric acid) causes dental erosion that can lead to the progressive loss of the surface of the tooth. This may require complex and lengthy treatment involving fillings, veneers and crowns. The sticky consistency of “gummies” adds to the problem.
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