Why Sippy Cups May Be Contributing to Childhood CavitiesChildhood tooth decay is on the rise, and it’s not because of a lack of attention from parents. Most parents know how important it is to take care of their children’s teeth, so they’re often shocked when their pediatric dentist gives them the bad news — your child has a cavity. So where is the disconnect? Some experts believe that sippy cups filled with sugary juice may be the culprit. Today, the pediatric dentistry team at Dr. Scott’s office will discuss the dangers of long-term dependence on sippy cups and how they may be contributing to your child’s cavities.
How Sippy Cups are Being MisusedSippy cups are designed to be a transitional tool for your child, to help them move from bottles to cups. However, because they’re convenient for parents (by preventing spills) they are often used for far too long. It is not uncommon for toddlers to use sippy cups exclusively for months or even years. Now if parents exclusively use water in sippy cups, this isn’t necessarily a problem. It’s when they are used in conjunction with sugary drinks, like fruit juice, that problems begin to arise. When children sip on sugared beverages for extended periods of time through their sippy cup, they are exposed to a higher risk of decay. According to the CDC, dental decay in the United States for children aged 2- 5 years has increased by over 15%. This is a problem that won’t go away on its own.
Sippy Cup TipsSo, what should you as a parent do to help prevent dental decay? Follow these steps to help prevent dental decay in your child.
- Remember that a sippy cup is a training tool for transitioning from bottle to cup and should not be the primary method of drinking.
- Unless it is mealtime, only fill the sippy cup with water. Giving your child sugary beverages, even when they are diluted, should be avoided in a sippy cup.
- Avoid giving your child a sippy cup at naptime or bedtime to avoid creating an unhealthy dependence.
- Don’t wait too long before taking your child to a pediatric dentist. It is recommended to bring your child to the dentist shortly after the first tooth erupts, and no later than the child’s first birthday.