Toddler training cups: Do you know your options?

by Airman 1st Class Aubrey Koehler 86th Dental Squadron

A broad selection of training cups are available, however not all of them may be suitable for your child. Knowing the purpose of a training cup is the key to helping you select an appropriate one.

The sippy cup is a training tool to help children transition from a bottle to a cup. Finding the right cup and monitoring its use are important aspects of this transition.

The most effective training cups have a snap on lid and spout. Cups with handles for your child to grasp are a great choice. Some training cups even have weights in the bottom to help make spills less likely. When selecting a training cup, be sure to avoid those that advertise “no spill.” Cups with valves only allow your child to obtain liquid by sucking, much like a bottle.

Once the skill of sipping is accomplished the purpose has been achieved and your child can move on to an open cup. Children should be encouraged to drink from a cup by their first birthday. At this point, you will be helping your child develop the motor skills and cognitive thinking involved in using an open cup.

Do not allow your child to become accustomed to having their cup within reach. Drinks should only be given at mealtimes or when they are thirsty for water.

Sipping while in the stroller, car seat or any other time in between meals puts the child at risk for injury and tooth decay. Giving sugary drinks (including milk) to fussy toddlers promotes frequent sipping, which in turn encourages tooth decay as the bacteria feast on the sugars and produce acids that deteriorate the teeth.

Sipping while walking or running may result in injury to the mouth as toddlers are often unsteady on their feet. Your child’s well-being depends on you.

Be sure to schedule a dental “well baby checkup” when your child’s first teeth appear. The dentist will provide you with useful information on how to properly care for your child’s teeth and gums in addition to checking for decay and other potential problems. Early and consistent visits can help your child establish good dental habits that last a lifetime.

For questions or concerns, call the 86th Dental Squadron at 479-2210 or 011-49-6371-46-2210.