Can Sippy Cups Affect My Child's Oral Health? Separating Fact From Fiction

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What Can Sippy Cups Do To My Child’s Teeth?

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Wondering how sippy cups can harm your child’s teeth? Here are a few ways.

  • Bacteria growth – In a recent test, bacteria and mold were found growing on 100% of tested sippy cups, and 25% of tested sippy cups had fecal bacteria. Excessive bacteria is bad for your child’s health for obvious reasons, and can contribute to tooth decay.
  • Sugary drinks contribute to cavities – Sippy cups encourage your child to drink slowly, and this can be a big problem if they are drinking sugary drinks like juice for a long time throughout the day. Bacteria will feed on the sugar in their mouths, and contribute to a higher risk of cavities.
  • Strong forces to the teeth may affect oral development – This is, perhaps, the biggest issue with sippy cups. They encourage an unhealthy mouth and jaw position and a bad swallow. This can result in issues like “tongue thrusting,” which can lead to crooked teeth and improper oral development.
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How To Avoid Damage To Your Child’s Teeth When Using Sippy Cups

Wondering how you can keep your child’s teeth healthy while they’re still using a sippy cup? Here are a few tips from Kids Tooth Team. 

  • Clean them often – Clean your child’s sippy cup with antibacterial soap every time they’re finished drinking. Don’t let any beverages, particularly milk or juice, sit in the cup for a long time. This can contribute to bacterial growth.
  • Avoid sugary juices – Sugary juice is actually quite bad for your child’s oral health. You should give them only water, milk, or formula in their sippy cup. If your child is old enough to drink juice, they’re old enough to eat whole fruit cut into small, bite-sized pieces, so you should feed them pieces of fruit instead of giving them juice.
  • Don't use sippy cups at night or near bedtime – Don’t use a sippy cup at night, or let your child suck on it before they sleep, as this can contribute to dental development issues. Also, you should make sure to brush and clean your child’s mouth before they sleep, and never let them drink sugary beverages like juice or milk right before bed.
  • Start switching to open cups as soon as you can – Kids can start drinking from open cups between the ages of 6-12 months. Try to wean your child off of their sippy cup as soon as you can, and encourage them to drink from open cups instead.

Got More Questions? Get The Professional Advice You Need From Dr. Alex Otto! 

At Kids Tooth Team, Dr. Alex can help you learn everything you need to know about caring for your little one’s mouth. It’s never too early to start seeing the dentist, so contact us online or give us a call at (512) 523-4774 to get the pediatric dental care your child needs in Buda or South Austin, and Kyle!

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