Sippy Cup Do’s and Don’ts
Sippy cups provide a natural transition between bottles and regular cups. A good sippy cup can be a wonderful tool to teach your child how to drink independently and transition from sucking to sipping. Sadly, many families misunderstand the purpose of sippy cups and use them less as a teaching device and more as a way to avoid messes. This can result in the formation of bad habits and increased risks of dental problems. Here are a few do’s and don’ts to consider when transitioning your child away from the bottle.
Don’t use a sippy cup with a valve. A sippy cup with a valve will encourage your child to continue to suck, which is exactly the opposite of the reason you are transitioning with a sippy cup in the first place.
Do use a sippy cup with snap-on or screw-on lid. The little plastic extension on the top of the cup teaches children how to sip properly while minimizing mess.
Don’t give your child any beverage other than water in a sippy cup, except at mealtime. Even before children develop teeth, they run the risk of developing cavities if they drink too many sugary or acidic beverages. Teach them that the best solution for thirst is water and that other drinks are only to be consumed at mealtimes.
Do introduce regular cups early. Believe it or not, your child should transition to a normal cup by about 18 months of age. Typically, sippy cups are recommended for children between 12 and 18 months old.
Don’t let your child become dependent on sippy cups. Some parents let their children use sippy cups into kindergarten and beyond. Many children suck on the spout of a sippy cup like a pacifier. And, as children become more mobile, the odds of their running around while sucking their cup, tripping and damaging their teeth increase substantially. This injury is common enough to bear a strong warning.
If you have any questions about your child’s drinking skills, let Dr. Jared and his clinical team at KiDDS Dental know. Limiting how long and under what conditions your child uses a sippy cup can improve your child’s prognosis for a healthy mouth.
Call us to schedule an appointment today! 509-891-7070.