As parents, we want to provide our children with the best possible care and nutrition. However, it’s important to be aware of the potential harm that certain habits and foods can have on their dental health. One common source of concern is the use of sippy cups and juice boxes, as they can lead to excessive sugar and acid exposure in children’s teeth.
What’s In Your Child’s Sippy Cup?
It’s important to be mindful of what your child is drinking from their sippy cup during the day. While juice may seem like a healthy option, it often contains a large amount of added sugar. This can lead to an increased risk of tooth decay and erosion, especially the more often they drink it. Additionally, milk should also be limited to mealtimes as it contains natural sugars and can also lead to tooth decay and erosion when they “feed” the plaque bacteria in your child’s mouth. The best option for your children to drink during the water between meals (including snack time) is water. Preferably tap water since it’s fluoridated. Save the milk for meals.
What Causes Tooth Eruption from Sippy Cups
One of the main issues with sippy cups and juice boxes is that children tend to sip from them frequently throughout the day. The other is the way the drink flows or pours over the front teeth whenever they’re using a sippy cup for drinking. This constant exposure to natural or artificial sweeteners can lead to erosion of the teeth, which can cause sensitivity and discoloration. Additionally, the frequent sipping of liquids other than water can also lead to cavities, as bacteria in the mouth thrive on natural or artificial sugar and can cause decay.
Additional Dental Concerns from Sippy Cups
Sippy cups can also lead to other dental concerns, such as tooth alignment, jaw growth, and open bites. When a child is constantly drinking from a sippy cup as they get older, they may develop front teeth that either protrude or do not close together properly. When their teeth are biting down, the front teeth may still have a visible space between them, which we call an “open bite.” Additionally, the child may develop a habit of protruding their lower jaw forward to drink, which will affect growth patterns and their TMJ joints. Other side effects can also include tongue thrusting and speech delays because of changes in their mouth muscles and skeletal development.
How Fluoride Treatment for Kids Helps with Erosion
Fluoride is a mineral that can help to strengthen tooth enamel, making it more resistant to erosion. Many kinds of toothpaste and mouthwashes contain fluoride, and our kids dentist may also recommend fluoride treatments to help protect their teeth from erosion. Fluoride treatments can be applied directly to the teeth in the form of a gel, foam, or varnish, and can provide extra protection for children who are at a high risk of erosion.
However, kids can get another great source of fluoride from the water they drink. Instead of giving them juice or milk, stick with tap water. Tap water has regulated fluoride levels which, like calcium, aid in healthy tooth and bone development during childhood.
Pediatric Dental Exams and Cleanings in Brighton
Regular dental exams and cleanings are essential for maintaining good oral health in children. At Kids City Dental in Brighton, CO, our team of kids dentists is dedicated to providing comprehensive care for children’s teeth. We offer regular exams and cleanings to help prevent tooth decay, erosion, and other dental problems. Our goal is to help children establish a strong foundation of oral health that will last a lifetime.
If you have concerns about the impact of sippy cups on your child’s smile, or you want advice on how to break the sippy cup habit for good, call Kids City Dental today!