Getting the baby off the bottle is tough enough and every parent knows that struggle. The transition is usually made with what is popularly known as a “sippy cup”. The sippy cup is the bridge between the bottle and a real cup. It’s covered and usually has a spout or straw that the child uses.
Whereas parents control access to the bottle, in many cases the sippy cup becomes an almost constant feature of the child’s day. But it isn’t just the sippy cup that is the problem. It is often what is in the sippy cup that can cause oral health problems for youngsters.
Many parents fill the cup with juice in the mistaken belief that juice is the best thing for their child. And while juice certainly can have a part in their diet, it is something to which that they have constant access. For the same reason we want to control the bottle when baby goes to bed, we want to ensure the sippy cup doesn’t expose the child’s teeth to sugary or acidic drinks on a constant basis.
Juice consumption has been linked to childhood obesity and the development of tooth decay, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. In its current policy statement on preventive oral health, the organization advises parents to limit the intake of 100% fruit juice to no more than four ounces a day. Sugary drinks and foods should be limited to mealtimes.
As with the bottle it is recommended that if the child does make a constant habit of going to the sippy cup that the cup is usually filled with water. That will eliminate the problems of the damage sugary drinks can do. Additionally it will also limit the child’s exposure to the tooth attacking acids found in most juices.
Make juice a treat, limit it to 4 oz a day and have it at meal time. If at all possible, fill the sippy cup with water. It is much more beneficial for the child’s oral health and probably for it’s overall health as well.
Next time we’ll talk about everybody’s favorite – the pacifier. Until then, call us with any questions.