As your child is ready to take a leap from baby bottles to sippy cups, there are a few things to consider before taking the trip to the store. What might seem like an easy choice at first comes with many options when you are finally looking at the store shelf. Making good choices about your child's sippy cup will help your family stay healthy and help your child avoid tooth decay.
What Is Early Childhood Tooth Decay (Baby Bottle Tooth Decay)?
Early childhood tooth decay is decay on baby teeth, which can lead to childhood cavities. Decay happens when sweetened liquids are left sticking to a child's teeth for long periods of time. Bacteria in the mouth use sweet liquids as food and produce an acid that attacks the baby teeth, so they start to decay. There are three things that promote decay: what goes into the child's cup, how often, and for how long.
What Kind Of Cup To Choose?
The best cup to choose for your child is one with no value in it. Values are being placed in cups to give it the "no spill" guarantee. Unfortunately, having a value inside makes the child suck for the liquid instead of sipping. Choose one with a snap-on or screw-on lid with a spout. Finding a cup with two handles would be the best option.
What To Put Into The Cup?
For most of the day, your child should have water in the cup, preferably water treated with fluoride, like tap water. At mealtimes, milk and juice drinks could be offered. Avoid giving
the child any sort of sugar water or soft drinks.
How Frequently Can My Child Use The Cup?
Constantly sipping on drinks containing sugar, like milk and juice, can lead to tooth decay over time. Mealtimes are the only time your child should use the cup. Your child should not be given a cup when going to bed, as this can lead to tooth decay. Beware of letting your child carry the cup around and sipping while walking; toddlers can be unsteady on their
feet and any fall can damage the mouth.
When do I stop using the cup?
A training cup is only temporary. Once your child has learned to sip from the cup, the training cup is no longer necessary. It can and should be set aside.