Sippy Cups And Your Child’s Oral Health

AS YOUR CHILD GRADUATES from using a bottle to enjoy their milk, it’s important to remember their oral health as you decide what step to take next.

Sippy Cups Are Only A Stepping Stone

Sippy cups were designed to be a transitional step from bottle drinking to drinking from a regular cup. Despite this, many children end up drinking from sippy cups for months or even years until they are encouraged to begin using a regular cup. Although sippy cups prevent unwanted spills that may arise as they’re transitioning from a bottle, prolonged use can lead to a host of problems for their growing smile.

Prolonged Sippy Cup Use Leads To Cavities

Drinking from a sippy cup for long periods of time has similar effects to putting your baby to bed with a bottle. The sugars in both milk and juice combine with bacteria to create enamel-eroding bacteria. When babies fall asleep with bottles, the fluid pools around their teeth and slowly erodes their enamel throughout the night—leading to painful tooth decay (also known as caries).

Drinking from a sippy cup all day has a similar effect. When a child drinks from a sippy cup, they immerse their top six teeth. Depending on what’s in their cup, they could be constantly covering those top teeth with sugar. Dental caries may soon follow, which can result in uncomfortable swelling and infection, and even triple their likelihood of developing cavities in their adult teeth.

Keep These Tips In Mind

We understand how convenient sippy cups can be during the early stages of your child’s development, but we’d encourage you to use them as a temporary step on the way to using of a regular cup. Some children quickly learn how to manage a regular cup and skip the use of a sippy cup altogether.

If your child does need the help of a sippy cup when transitioning from a bottle, keep the following in mind:

  • Don’t allow your child to use their sippy cup throughout the day. Reserve this for snacks and mealtime.
  • If they want to drink sugary beverages, encourage them to use a straw. This ensures the sugary liquid misses the teeth as they’re drinking.
  • Visit your child’s dentist early and often. They should have their first dental appointment by the time they get their first tooth or reach the age of one.

We Love Helping Your Child’s Growing Smile!

We know parents have a lot of questions about their little ones’ oral and overall health. If you have questions about transition your infant from a bottle or have other questions about their oral health, please let us know! We’re committed to helping provide all of the information you need during this important period of their life.

Thank you for being a part of our practice family!

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

 

Photo Credit:  Top image by Flickr user Gordon used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Don’t Be Fooled By Fruit Juice

EVERY CHILD LOVES sugary treats! But most parents understand how bad they can be for a developing smile. Unfortunately, some sweet things are more deceiving than others. As your trusted dental team, we’re here to make sure your kids can get the nutrients they need to have strong, healthy and beautiful teeth!

Fruit Juice Contains A Lot Of Sugar

It’s not always easy getting little ones to eat their fruits and veggies. Many parents turn to juice as an alternative to help them get some of the nutrients they need. While there are nutritional benefits to fruit juice, it can also be really hard on teeth.

Fruit juice, even if it’s all natural, contains a lot of sugar. What’s worse is that many fruit juices, especially those marketed for children, have added sugar in them. And even though fruit juice is often touted as a healthy alternative to soda, the majority of them contain just as much sugar as soda, sometimes even more! And as you well know, sugar is the number one culprit behind tooth decay.

Unfortunately, sugar isn’t the only problem–fruit juice is also very acidic. The combination of sugar and acid can pack a mean punch: while acid weakens tooth enamel, sugar feeds cavity-causing bacteria and contributes to decay. Needless to say, this can be extremely bad for young, developing teeth!

Follow These Steps To Protect Your Child’s Teeth

The American Association of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children one to six years old should have no more than four to six ounces of fruit juice per day. When you give your child fruit juice, follow these five tips to help protect their teeth from decay:

  1. Don’t let them sip throughout the day. Have your child drink fruit juice all at once instead of throughout the day. Tooth decay is more about how long sugar comes in contact with the teeth and less about how much. This means that parents should avoid putting juice in sippy cups.
  2. Dilute it with water. This is an easy step to protect your child’s teeth from damage.
  3. Drink at mealtime. More saliva is produced when eating a meal, helping wash away sugar left by juice and remineralize tooth enamel. Chewing food also helps to physically remove sugar adhering to teeth.
  4. Use a straw. Using a straw will reduce the amount of sugar and acid that comes in direct contact with teeth.
  5. Rinse with water. Offer your child water after drinking juice to wash away any remaining sugar.

In general, it’s better to eat fruit than to drink it. Fiber in whole fruit slows the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream, so it’s not only better for your child’s teeth, it’s also better for their body.

Check out this video to learn more about baby bottle tooth decay and the negative effects of sugary drinks on your child’s smile:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlwiXRmlLyA

Your Child’s Smile Deserves The Best

Fruit juice and soda may be what your child requests, but milk and water are much better choices. They’ll thank you later in life for healthy, cavity-free teeth! After all, your child’s smile deserves the best… not necessarily their taste buds!

Thank you for trusting us with your child’s dental health!

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.