As your child gets too big for the bottle, you may replace it with a fun sippy cup. Sippy cups are alright for a little while, but at our pediatric dental office in The Woodlands, we strongly recommend transitioning to straws or “big kid cups” sooner rather than later.
Sippy cups are great for those kids who are ready to hold their own cup and, once they stop throwing it on the floor repeatedly, actually drink from it. However, constant, prolonged use of the sippy cup may lead to some developmental concerns and oral health problems.
It’s quite common for a sippy cup to become a replacement for a bottle or pacifier. When this happens, little ones tend to sip on them throughout the day as a comforting habit. If that sippy cup is full of anything but water, their tiny teeth are constantly exposed to damaging sugar. According to the Centers for Disease Control, cavities have increased by 15 percent in children aged two to five. By choosing an alternative to the sippy cup, you can help keep your child’s teeth cavity-free.
Sippy cups are a great transitional tool from bottles to real cups. However, prolonged use can actually affect the development of teeth and gums. Since sippy cups require the same sucking action as bottles, if they are used for too long they may cause the tongue and teeth to change position. This can result in possible speech difficulties like a lisp or trouble with articulation.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends phasing out the bottle between 12 and 24 months. However, by nine months, your child should be open to the idea of drinking from a sippy cup. It can help introduce them to the idea of the sippy cup periodically prior to this milestone so that they’re familiar with it and the way it feels. The sippy cup is acceptable for a little while, but it should be replaced with a cup or a straw by two or three years of age.
While using the sippy cup is ok, try to keep the days of the sippy cup short and transition to drinking with a straw or a “big kid cup” as soon as you can. Having trouble tossing the cup? Give our pediatric dental office in The Woodlands a call. We’re always here to help!
Serving patients from The Woodlands, Spring, and surrounding areas.