There’s no denying they are convenient. But when it comes to your child’s oral health, sippy cups may be doing more harm than good.
Unlike a bottle or breast, the hard spout of a sippy cup can alter the structure of your child’s palate, jaw, and oral cavity—all of which may prevent your child’s mouth from developing properly, necessitating later orthodontic treatment. Prolonged use of a sippy cup could even lead to speech impairment and sleep concerns.
And sipping on juice, soda—even milk—throughout the day bathes your child’s teeth in sugar and acids that can lead to decay. Although baby teeth do eventually fall out, developing cavities at an early age can impact adult teeth, and change the size and shape of the oral cavity.
Let Kids Dental Group help you ditch the sippy cup with these tips:
- Your child can start drinking from an open cup from the time they start eating solids (between six months to a year). Opt for a BPA-free plastic cup with your child’s favourite superhero or cartoon character. Fill it halfway to minimize spills, and be sure to praise your child’s attempts to drink from a “big boy/girl” cup.
- If you do use a sippy cup, only serve water. All other drinks should be reserved for mealtimes, and juice can be diluted. Let your child learn to enjoy drinking water. If they want something sweet, serve whole fruits washed down with water to ensure that natural sugars and acids do not linger on the teeth.
- If you are looking for a convenient, spill-proof alternative, try a cup or thermos with a built-in straw. Unlike the rigid spout of a sippy cup, a straw can bend and mould with the shape of your child’s mouth. Again, only serve water and avoid sending your child to bed with a sippy cup.
Last but not least, don’t cry over spilled milk. It is far easier to clean up a few spills here and there than to console a toddler whose mouth is full of cavities.