Will sippy cups affect my child's baby teeth?

Will sippy cups affect my child's baby teeth?

Many well-meaning parents offer their child a sippy cup as a next step when transitioning away from breast or bottle feeding. However, skipping the sippy cup may help protect your child's teeth. Our Burnaby children's dentists explain why...


Sippy cups may appear to be a logical next step for children who have outgrown baby bottles, or are transitioning away from the breast. They can certainly be handy for preventing messy spills while young children learn to drink from a regular cup.

Nonetheless, it's important to note that while sippy cups have many advantages, allowing your child to frequently drink from sippy cups can lead to a number of dental health issues. 

Tooth Decay

When a child drinks from the spout of a sippy cup, their six upper front teeth become immersed in the liquid. If the child's sippy cup contains juice, milk or any other sweet drinks then that means the child's teeth are being bathed in sugar with each sip they take. Drinking from a sippy cup frequently throughout the day, can quickly lead to your child developing tooth decay.

If left untreated, tooth decay may result in an infection and require treatment. In some cases the child's teeth may even need to be extracted. 

To help prevent tooth decay, you should only allow your child to drink water from a sippy cup.

Lack of Appetite

Children who are allowed to carry their sippy cup around all day, tend to take frequent drinks between meals. This can lead lack of appetite for healthy foods at meal times. One way to avoid this problem is to only allow your child to use the sippy cup at snack times and meal times, so that they can enjoy a drink along with their food.

Delay in Speech Development

Sippy cup spouts rest on top of the child's tongue as they swallow. Frequent use of sippy cups can lead to a delay in speech development and oral motor development because the cup's spout restricts the tongue's natural movement. 

To avoid dental problems stemming from the use of sippy cups, teach your child to use a straw, or drink from an open cup, when transition away from bottles or breast.

If you feel that you'd like to offer your child a sippy cup for the sake of your own sanity, we understand. Don't fret, occasional use of a sippy cup is unlikely to harm your child's dental health. 

If you have more questions about how to help protect your child's teeth, contact Smile Town Burnaby. Our dentists specialize in caring for young smiles.

Download the FREE SmileTown Kids' Activity Booklet.

A great resource to help get your kids ready – and excited – to visit the dentist.


Enter your email address below to get the FREE activity book and to receive our latest news and updates.