Hello moms and dads! In honor of National Children’s Dental Health Month the Ramstein Dental Clinic would like to share some helpful tips on using sippy cups with your child.
When to start: When your baby is ready to sit up in a high chair, usually around six months, your baby is ready to start practicing drinking from a sippy cup! Try adding a small amount of pumped breast milk or formula to the cup. You may also choose to skip the sippy cup altogether and try a small open cup.
Transitioning from bottle: Most babies are ready to ditch the bottle completely by 12 months.
Avoiding accidents: Don’t let your little one toddle while holding their sippy cup. They are unsteady on their feet and a fall could lead to tooth damage.
Water, nature’s drink: It’s best to offer water to your toddler inbetween meals. They can drink milk with their meals. This will help to reduce the chance of a cavity on a baby tooth.
Fruit instead of juice: Your toddler can get all of the nutrients they need from eating a healthy diet with fruit. Fruit juice is not necessary and can lead to tooth decay.
Time for a cup: A sippy cup is a training tool so that children can learn how to take a sip. Once they can sip they are ready to transition to a small cup. Start practicing with a small amount of water in an open cup by your child’s first birthday.
Bedtime: Babies and toddlers should never be put to bed with a bottle or sippy cup. This can quickly lead to cavities for very young children.
Avoid “no spill” sippy cups: These cups are convenient at reducing clean ups, but the valve that prevents spilling also prevents your child from taking sips. Instead of sipping, your child has to use a sucking motion for the liquid to come out of the cup. This can prolong the amount of time it takes for your little one to learn how to sip from a cup.
Proper cleaning: It’s very important to take apart all of the pieces of the training cup and thoroughly wash between each use.
First dental visit: Your child is ready for their first trip to the dentist when their baby teeth begin erupting or around the age of one. You can call the Ramstein Dental Clinic for appointment availability or you can find a dental home off base with one of the many providers accepting Tricare dental insurance.