Sippy Cups and Dental Health

pediatric dentist Tarrant CountySippy cups or training cups are a mainstay in many homes where toddlers reside. They are used to transition from nursing or bottle feeding to drinking (not sucking). Your pediatric dentist will be happy to discuss this with you.

Some of the things you should know include:

The best type of cup you should begin with does not require your child to suck. Many “no-spill” cups contain a valve that prevents spills if tipped, but your child will still be sucking and not learning how to drink.  

The ideal cup will have a lid that screws or snaps on that has a small spout with little holes that will prevent too much liquid from pouring out when your child is learning to drink. 

Just as your child probably holds a baby bottle with two hands, a cup with two handles will allow your child to do the same.

Many sippy cups have a weighted bottom to keep them upright to help prevent accidental spills. 

Now that your toddler is learning to drink from a cup, keep in mind that this tiny person is still learning. Control when a sippy cup is used; don’t allow your child to walk around with one to avoid injury if a fall should occur. 

If introducing a training cup in between meals, this should be in a controlled setting while sitting at the table, in a high chair, or maybe even in their carseat. Water is a great beverage to use as a spill is easily wiped up. 

Just as your pediatric dentist has cautioned you about juice and sugary beverages in the baby bottle, the same applies now with the sippy cup. You put your child at risk for dental decay if you give them inappropriate beverages, especially in between meals. If you are going to offer juice, do so during a meal when the act of chewing their food increases saliva production and helps to wash away the sugars on your child’s teeth. Milk is a better choice than juice. 

Make sure your toddler brushes at least twice every day; do not allow them to have anything but water after they have brushed before bed. Milk, soda, or juice can lead to cavities as sugars from these beverages can cling to teeth overnight.

Sippy cups are a great introduction for the eventual use of a regular glass. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact our team at Fort Worth Children’s Dentistry.