Your toddler transitioning from his/her baby bottle to sippy cup is a milestone worthy of celebration. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), your toddler should be ready to transition from the breast or bottle between one and two years.
While the child may not be ready to use a regular cup, varieties of sippy cups are available to train them. Though sippy cups act instrumental in the transition, many pediatric dentists believe that frequent and prolonged exposure to sippy cups contribute to toddler tooth decay.
Sippy cups available in the market today are effective in preventing leaks and spills. This has made the parents give it to their children way into late toddlerhood. As a consequence, the toddler’s teeth are exposed to problems like pediatric cavities which are becoming common in children between the ages two and five.
Dr. Joseph Cheng, DDS., located in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, is the go-to pediatric dentist, who will educate you about the use of sippy cups, walk you through routine oral care to be followed at home and provide a plan of action for eliminating unwanted oral habits.
Dr. Cheng recommends the parents to remember the following points before giving their toddler a sippy cup:
- Don’t let your child take the sippy cup to bed.
- Don’t allow the toddler to sip for a long period.
- Don’t fill sippy cups with sugary liquids.
- Do not use sippy cups to comfort the fussy child.
- Remember to clean it frequently to eliminate bacteria build up.
- If the child fusses for a sugary drink, giving it at the mealtime is preferred as saliva production is at its highest level.
Sippy cups lead to Tooth Decay
Although sippy cups help in the transition, when giving it to the child to way into late toddlerhood may lead to teeth damage. Also, filling the cups with sugary liquids to soothe the fussy children is a bad practice. Examples of sugary liquids are baby formula, fruit juice, breast milk, and sweetened water.
When sugary liquids are given oftentimes, oral bacteria come in contact with the sugar coated on or around the teeth, release harmful acids and these acids attack the baby’s tooth enamel. Sometimes, cavities form between the teeth, which are harder to clean. Scheduling biannual appointments with Dr. Cheng recommends monitoring the toddler’s teeth condition to confirm that cavities are not forming.
Choosing the Right Sippy Cup
There are varieties of sippy cups to choose from. It still is important to remember to keep in mind a few things while picking one.
- It is best to avoid sippy cups with no-spill valves because it releases only a little liquid which allows the sugars to swill around the mouth more often.
- Sippy cups with two handles are a better choice because these help the toddler transition better into regular drinking cups sooner and better.
- Cups with a screwing lid or a snap-on with a spout promote good drinking habits.