Growing up always involves different adjustment periods, including the switch from using a baby bottle to using a sippy cup. Furthermore, it’s important to take precautions when your child is still using a bottle as they are prone to tooth decay during this time. Baby bottle tooth decay is a common and real concern that can affect their baby teeth and their permanent teeth! According to the American Dental Association (ADA), in order to prevent tooth decay caused by excessive bottle use and sugar intake, it’s best to switch to a sippy cup by your child’s first birthday.

Tips For Parents

The following tips will help parents in their journey past the baby bottle phase:

1. Choose wisely.

Often times, parents will choose the wrong kind of training cup for their child. Training cups that have a valve that stops the liquid from spilling may be convenient, but the child still has to suck (just like when they drink from a bottle) to get the liquid out. This might be a good steppingstone towards using a cup, but it doesn’t teach your child how to sip instead of suck.

2. Don’t fill the cup with sugary drinks!

Skip milk and juice– the sugars are what lead to tooth decay, so it is best to use only water.

3. Avoid allowing your child to walk around with the cup.

Falling while sipping from a sippy cup can injure the mouth and teeth! Additionally, supervising your child while they are using their training cup helps to teach them how to hold the cup steady and prevent spills.

4. Do not let your child go to sleep with their sippy cup.

If your child falls asleep with their sippy cup (or bottle, if you’re still weaning them off of it) the saliva and liquid will pool in their mouth while they sleep, which causes tooth decay. If they resist to the idea, try replacing the cup with a stuffed animal or a favorite blanket for added comfort.

5. Use a sippy cup temporarily- not permanently.

A sippy cup is meant only to teach your child how to sip and use a cup. Once they have learned how to do so, the training cup is no longer needed.

One of the best ways to prevent baby bottle tooth decay is by replacing the baby bottle with a cup as soon as possible. According to the Journal of Pediatrics, if your child is still using a bottle after the age of one, they will have a harder time switching to a cup. For more tips and helpful advice, make an appointment to speak with your pediatric dentist. Advanced Children’s Dentistry is a pediatric dental practice in Garden City, NY where little patients have a safe and educational dental experience. Schedule a pediatric dental appointment with us at 516-758-KIDS today!

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