Sippy Cups can harm natural jaw development in your toddler

Your child’s future oral health is shaped by how they drink as a baby and toddler.

What are the problems with Sippy Cups?
Sippy Cups don’t mimic the features inherent in the natural feeding process. The rigid plastic teat means your toddler’s mouth is forced to adapt to that artificial shape. Breastfeeding however, offers a pliable nipple, molding in tune with the child’s mouth, therefore creating the correct sucking technique. When drinking from a Sippy Cup the tongue is misplaced, this means they can’t suction saliva or swallow correctly, it encourages incorrect open mouth breathing and teeth are pushed forward and outward.


What issues can arise from the use of Sippy Cups?
Prolonged use of a Sippy Cup can lead to changes in your child’s facial growth and natural jaw development and can lead to the following complications.

  • Narrowing of the upper and lower dental arches
  • Developing a small airway which can impact on breathing especially whilst sleeping
  • Speech issues
  • Open mouth breathing
  • Narrowing of the upper and lower dental arches
  • Crooked teeth
  • Increased cavities – sugary drinks like juice sit on the teeth for extended periods of time

What are the best alternatives to Sippy Cups?
If breastfeeding is possible initially, it is always the preferred method for encouraging optimal oral health and healthy jaw development. As the baby grows into a more independent toddler, you may be best to consider using a partially filled regular cup with a handle, they learn very quickly once given the opportunity. Hopefully there won’t be too many spills and if necessary use a regular straw as an interim measure. Rest assured, the brief period of inconvenience whilst weaning them off their Sippy Cup will be replaced by a more promising lifetime of improved oral health.  This paves the foundation for a sound mouth, teeth, sucking and swallowing reflex, airway and face.

At Richmond Fine Dentistry, our dentists specialise in children’s dentistry, we are here to guide you with information and education toward best practices to help facilitate the development of a naturally healthy jaw.  Contact us for more information and helpful advice.