As parents, we all want what is best for our kids. However, with so many different feeding products available, it’s easy for us to unknowingly make bad choices. The sippy cup is a great example of this. While extremely popular, it can actually have a lot of damaging effects on children’s teeth.
What Sippy Cups Do To Children’s Teeth
Sippy cups are great, because they don’t tend to spill. But, the real purpose of the sippy cup is to help a toddler transition from a baby bottle to a proper cup. Because they are so great at the non-spill part, sippy cups tend to get used for a much longer period, often spanning over several years.
At home, children tend to hold on to sippy cups for long periods, almost as a form of comfort. If the cup is filled with juice, it is common for the sippy cup to be sucked on for long periods. And this is where the major damage is done to the teeth.
Prolonged use of a sippy cup with juice or another sugary drink in it can have severe effects:
- Long exposure to sugar. If the drink in the cup is milk or juice, the sugar will increase the risk of tooth decay.
- Bacteria growth. Once it has come into contact with the child’s mouth, sippy cups become a productive breeding ground for bacteria. This can enhance bacterial accumulation on the teeth.
- Strong forces on the teeth. The sucking action used with sippy cups can affect the way the teeth and jaws develop, possibly leading to orthodontic problems.
How To Avoid Sippy Cup Damage
- Don’t let your child suck on the sippy cup for prolonged periods of time.
- Only put water in the sippy cup. If juice or milk is used, put it in a regular cup and supervise the drinking.
- Don’t use sippy cups at night. Prolonged exposure at night while the child goes to sleep is one of the major ways sippy cups inflict the damage to the teeth.
What Else Can Parents Do?
If your child has already had some damage inflicted from sippy cups, then there are free school dental clinics which can restore the teeth with composite fillings.
If there has been a misalignment of the teeth as a result of prolonged use of sippy cups, or some other sucking/biting habit, then an orthodontic consultation at Fraser Dental will be required.
If you have any questions about the potential hazards of sippy cups, or if you suspect there may be an orthodontic condition developing, feel free to call the practice on 09 416 5050 or send us a message.