Are Sippy Cups Contributing To Cavities?
When you child’s first tooth erupted, you may have documented this milestone in photos or video or on social media.
It is a big deal, but it also changes your life and your child’s life. Once your child has his or her first tooth, he or she is able to get cavities and tooth decay.
Oral care is always important, but it becomes even more so once those first teeth arrive. As your child gets older — and gets more teeth — he or she will start eating solid foods, and your child will move away from breastfeeding or drinking from a bottle.
For many parents, “sippy” cups are beneficial as your child makes this transition, but our dentists at Hubbard & Leath Dental in Rochester Hills, MI want to make sure you understand that sippy cups are not intended to be a long-term solution.
Why Parents Love Sippy Cups
Your baby’s first birthday is a good time to start the transition away from a bottle and onto sippy cups.
We understand why parents like these cups. Toddlers have small hands. They are still learning coordination skills, and they are prone to knocking things over.
We understand why you might prefer a cup that won’t spill its contents on your table or floor.
Unfortunately, many parents allow their children to use sippy cups longer than they should. Your goal should be to move your child away from sippy cups on onto open cups sooner rather than later.
One of the mistakes many parents make is allowing their children to carry a sippy cup all day. In that instance, a sippy cup can become more like a substitute for a pacifier. And if that sippy cup is filled with fruit juice or another sugary drinks, that increases your child’s risk of developing tooth decay.
And if that sippy cup is filled with fruit juice or another sugary drinks, it increases your child’s risk of developing tooth decay.
That is unfortunately what seemed to happen in greater numbers across the United States. The Centers for Disease Control looked at data from 1988 through 1994 and from 1994 through 2002. In the more recent time period, children between the ages of 2 and 5 years old saw an increase in cavities by 15.2 percent.
There are a few ways you can help your child make the transition away from a bottle.
First, if you are using sippy cups, do not allow you child to carry them around all day. Water is a better option than sugary juice if your child is using a sippy cup outside of normal feeding or meal times.
Second, make a plan to transition away from sippy cups. You can start by giving your child a small amount water in a regular cup at meals. This allows you to supervise your child more closely in this situation, and it allows you to minimize the risks of a spill.
Alternatives To Sippy Cups
You may decide to forego sippy cups entirely, or you may want an alternative that better simulates drinking from a regular cup. That may not take away your concerns about spills, however.
To that end, we would encourage you to do an online search for “alternatives to sippy cups.”
Speech therapists have said that extended use of sippy cups can cause speech development problems later in life. One of the reasons for this is that children often drink from sippy cups in a similar way that they drinks from a bottle.
One option is to use cups that rely on straws to deliver the drink to your child.
Another option is to find cups that are more similar to regular cups and glasses. To learn that new skill, a good alternative is to find a cup that has two handles, which gives your toddler greater control, and has a way to limit the flow of the milk, juice, or water.
One example of this is the Miracle Deco Trainer. This is not an endorsement of this particular product. We are just pointing out an example of the kind of products that are available that you may want to consider.
As your child gets older and his or her motor skills improve, you can move toward regular cups completely.
Don’t Forget The Dentist
One thing you should remember is that your child should make his or her first dental visit around the age of 2. At our dentist office in Rochester Hills, MI, we see families from Auburn Hills, Troy, and the surrounding area.
During those initial visits, we are trying to accomplish two things — helping your child become familiar with the dentist office and taking our first look at your child’s teeth. Please note won’t force your child to do anything he or she isn’t ready for. We will do what we can to make this a fun visit for your son or daughter.