Are Sippy Cups Bad For My Child’s Teeth?

Westen Heights Dental, Knoxville TN

Sippy cups are a staple in Western culture, but, unbeknownst to many parents, can do a lot of harm to a child’s facial growth, jaw growth, and development of the airway.

How They Can Hurt A Growing Toddler

Sippy cups prevent normal development. During breastfeeding, a mother’s nipple adapts to the child’s mouth—but with a sippy cup, the child’s mouth adapts to the hard plastic of the sippy cup. The sucking forces of a child suckling on a breast actually encourages proper development of the mouth, teeth, swallow reflex, roof of the mouth, jaw, airway, and face. But these sucking forces change once you put hard plastic in a child’s mouth with a sippy cup—and prolonged use can lead to changes in facial growth and development, speech issues, a small airway (which can impact the quality of their sleep breathing), and crooked teeth.

Sippy cups also cause cavities and decay. How long you expose your teeth to sugar matters much more when it comes to cavities than how much sugar you consume. Sippy cups encourage sipping on a sugary drink over long periods of time, but as far as the teeth are concerned, we’re much better off consuming sugar in one go. Sweet treats are great, but they’re best confined to mealtime instead of stretching out the sugar exposure over hours. Children should be exposed to “at will” access to sugary drinks throughout the day. A good rule of thumb when your child is drinking a sugary drink. Only allow at meal time or have them sit in a chair and drink until it is gone. At will drinking throughout the day promotes tooth decay since the teeth are constantly being bathed in sugar