Sippy CupsHere at Snohomish Family Dentistry, we are dedicated to the health of your children’s teeth.

Frequent and prolonged use of sippy cups does lead to increased tooth decay in toddlers. Sippy cups are wonderful at what they are supposed to do, which is to help toddlers transition from using bottles to using regular cups. They are also great because they don’t spill when they are dropped or knocked over. However, many parents continue to use them even as their children age. Because of this, more children are being diagnosed with pediatric cavities and baby bottle cavities.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that parents make a child’s first “well-baby” dental examination six months after the first tooth arrives. Dentists use this time to talk to parents about good oral care at home, eliminating sippy cups, and getting rid of unwanted oral habits (like thumb sucking).

Sippy cups can be used as soon as your children are able to hold them. However, as soon as they can handle an adult-sized cup (usually by the time children are about one year old), you should stop using sippy cups.

Children can start getting tooth decay as soon as they start getting teeth. For this reason, parents need to start their children off right with good oral hygiene at home.

While sippy cups are necessary, there are ways to prevent decay while your children are using them. Try to give your children water instead of sugary liquids in them. Don’t let your children take cups to bed, and don’t give them cups to soothe them.

You should also monitor your children’s drinking habits. Children should not be drinking continuously from the cup. If you want to give your children sugary drinks, you should do so only during meal times when their saliva is high, helping to remove the sugary solution from their mouths. Also, make sure that you clean the sippy cup regularly. You don’t want bacteria to grow inside them.

Sippy cups, by themselves, do not cause decay. The main problem is what is inside of them. Many parents fill them with sugary liquids like breast milk, formula, juice, soda, and other drinks that promote decay.

Sippy cups are meant to allow only a small amount of drink out at a time. Because of this, the sugar in the liquid stays in the mouth and around the teeth. Bacteria feed on sugar, producing acids which attack the tooth enamel. As the enamel weakens, it becomes susceptible to decay.

Because of this, it is really important for your children to visit their pediatric dentist twice a year. We will look for signs of cavities (especially between the teeth). We will also monitor the development of the teeth to make sure that your children have healthy mouths.

Since sippy cups are important for parents, the American Dental Association (ADA) has announced that some are better than others. They recommend avoiding ones that claim they won’t spill because this means that in order to get a decent drink, your children have to keep sucking and sucking. Then the sugar in the drink will continue to swirl around their mouth and teeth.

They also recommend using cups with spouts because they promote good drinking habits. They are not just bottles for older children.

You may want to get larger sippy cups, which promote the use of two hands and thus make transitioning to a cup easier.

If you have questions or concerns about tooth decay or the use of sippy cups, don’t hesitate to contact us today at (360) 568-5411.