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March 23rd, 2020

Sippy Cups & Your Child’s Teeth

Category: cincinnati dentist

Sippy Cups & Your Child's Teeth

Do you have little ones? If you do, chances are that you’re the proud owner of many sippy cups—all of which are scattered across the house, right? You’re not alone!

As parents, we want what’s best for our children. And sippy cups are harmless, right?!

Although they are very popular, these cups actually aren’t the greatest for your child’s teeth. Don’t fret; this isn’t to say that allowing your child to drink from a sippy cup every now and again will make his or her teeth fall out, but there’s a few things you should know.

How Sippy Cups Can Damage Your Child’s Teeth

As with most things, it’s not the mere use of the cup, but the prolonged use over time that can cause damage to your child’s teeth. Because these cups are great for a no-spill experience, parents tend to use them much longer than necessary—because who likes cleaning up spilled milk?! We get it!

However, the intended purpose of a sippy cup is to help toddlers transition from a bottle to a regular cup, not to serve as their primary cup for years on end. Additionally, these cups are typically filled with juice or other sugary beverages, which can pose further issues (3).

Prolonged use of sippy cups containing sweet drinks can have the following effects:

  • Bacteria growth. Although it’s healthy to have some bacteria in the mouth, sippy cups can become a breeding ground for unnecessary bacteria growth. Too much bacterial accumulation can cause harmful build-up on your little one’s teeth.
  • Tooth decay. Excessive exposure to sugar over time can lead to decaying pearly whites—yikes!
  • Tooth and jaw development issues. Continually sucking on a sippy cup acts as a strong force on teeth. As a result, this can interfere with proper growth and negatively impact the way that the teeth and jaw will develop (1).

How to Avoid Damage from Sippy Cups

How to Avoid the Damage

  • Pick the right cup. Like we mentioned earlier, the purpose of a sippy cup is to train your child to transition to a proper cup. In order to teach your little one to sip instead of suck, it’s important that you choose a training cup that will do just that! Avoid the “no-spill” cups which are essentially just baby bottles with an alternate design. Instead, opt for one with two handles that has a snap-on or screw-on lid and spout, but no valve (2).
  • Minimize use. Don’t send your child to bed with a sippy cup. Prolonged use overnight can cause issues down the road! Instead, try limiting the use of a sippy cup to meal times only. Other times, put the drink into a regular cup and supervise use.
  • Avoid frequently filling them with something other than water. Most importantly, be cognizant of what you’re putting inside the cup! Try to steer clear of filling it with sugary juices and opt for water (1).

Hagen Dental is Here to Help

Want to learn more about how to protect your child’s teeth? We’re happy to help! We always treat you with kindness and compassion at Hagen Dental. We’re here to earn your trust with personalized, gentle care. Call (513) 251-5500 or click the Online Scheduling button here to schedule your next visit.


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