As parents, we are always looking out for what’s best for our children.
But when it comes to overall health (your kids or your own), there is a lot of misinformation distributed throughout social media, blogs, and self-help literature.
So much so, it is easy to see why anyone would have a headache trying to sift through facts backed with data, and “facts” that might be downright bad advice.
Today, we wanted to focus on one aspect of children’s health that is often marketed towards in commercials, and that is vitamins and minerals.
You know – those Flintstone’s Gummies that we have all had at one point in our lives.
But are they necessary? Will vitamins improve my child’s well being?
So, Should My Child Take Vitamins, Minerals, Or Other Supplements?
The answer is: We will need more information.
In most cases, vitamins from over the counter, or any sort thereof, are not necessary for most children to be healthy.
While there are certain circumstances where nutrient deficiencies can occur, physicians will make recommendations for dietary changes before anything else.
As one might assume, nutrients and vitamins are a lot more efficient for our bodies when received through a balanced diet.
One can liken the relationship of vitamins from a food source to white flour vs. whole wheat. White flour strips away the bran and extra nutrients within wheat to yield the useful starch in the middle.
Vitamins are similar in the fact that they can provide you with your daily nutrients, albeit they skip out on the fibre, antioxidants, healthy bacteria, and other nutritious components within our food that contribute to well-being.
It is all these pieces that combine to make a complete a balanced diet.
As well, know that plenty of foods come fortified with different vitamins and minerals to provide your children with their much-needed nutrients.
Calcium and vitamin D are often found in fortified orange juice. Yogurts can be made with essential probiotics for our gut health.
As long as you’re not dealing with an incredibly picky eater or a child who only has a few nibbles before being “full”, they should be receiving the important nutrients they need.
When Should My Child Need to Take Vitamins?
As stated earlier, in most cases your child should be fine with a well-balanced diet, but there are situations where one might temporarily (or continuously, in rare circumstances) supplement with vitamins.
Picky Eater or Nibbler
If you struggle to get your kid to eat any form of greens or your child takes two bites before they complain they’re full, then supplementing a diet (for a time being!) can be a great way to avoid nutrient deficiencies.
With that being said, this solution should only be temporary!
Vitamins and supplements can never replace a balanced diet and parents should work with their physicians to help find solutions to their children’s pickiness or lack of eating.
Fundamentally, we cannot rule out diseases and other illnesses that cause your body difficulty when absorbing or processing vitamins from regular food sources. These can include diabetes, celiac disease,
However, these ailments will often be discovered by a physician and/or specialist, at which point, a strategy will be put in place to mitigate or eliminate the source of your child’s issue.
What Nutrients Support a Healthy Smile?
3 main nutrients contribute to a healthy smile.
All working in tandem; calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorus attribute to the formation and maintenance of our teeth.
Vitamin D has an especially important job of regulating our absorption of calcium and phosphorus within our bodies. Available in little foods (some fruits and vegetables, egg yolks, or enriched products), the main source for vitamin D is through exposure to the sun.
As a Canadian can imagine, we’re often subjected to days without sun for about 6 months of the year when winter takes hold. That is why Toronto-based registered dietitian, Nazima Qureshi, recommends supplements to handle our unique geographical conditions.
Qureshi further explains that you should also ensure your vitamin choice says vitamin D3, as “that is the one that’s more bioavailable for your body.” If you wanted to know more advanced specifics of Canadian’s Vitamin D and Calcium uptake, you can find it on the Government of Canada’s website.
A quintessential building block for a healthy smile and our bones, calcium strengthens enamel with the help of phosphorus. Foods that you can add to your diet include dairy products (cheese, yogurt, low sugar milk), brown rice, beans, green vegetables (broccoli, peas, leafy greens), and nuts.
Without phosphorus, our gums and jaws would not be able to function. In fact, enamel, dentin, the cementum, and alveolar bone is the only occurrence within the body where phosphates can be found so abundantly, giving our mouths a unique place to study phosphorus metabolism disorders.
Luckily, phosphorus is abundantly found from seafood to beef, pork, and eggs. For plant-based sources, families can choose lentils, seeds such as pumpkin, and soybeans.
The Other Guys
While these vitamins might not play as large or noticeable role as calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D, they nonetheless contribute to oral health.
They include vitamin A for healthy gums and mucous membranes, vitamin K for teeth and bone protection, and vitamin C for the formation of blood vessels that support our teeth and other key areas.
Want to Know More?
Staying up-to-date on health advancements and trends can be timely and exhausting to keep up with. Especially since there seems to be expanding and conflicting information released weekly.
The good news is Treehouse Dental Care can be your trusted source for oral health-related news for yourself and your children.
Follow along with our blog as we explore ways on how you can support your child’s optimal oral health!