Monday, January 8, 2007

interesting article

Dentists say sippy cups should be used for water only

MONDAY, Jan. 1 (HealthDay News) — Other than at mealtimes, water is the only drink that should be used in toddler sippy cups, according to experts at the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD).

The reason: prolonged use of sugary drinks in sippy cups is a leading cause of pediatric tooth decay.

"Sippy cups were created to help children transition from a bottle to drinking from a regular cup, but they're too often used for convenience because they reduce spills. When kids sip sugared beverages for extended periods, they are exposed to a higher risk of (tooth) decay," Dr. Philip H. Hunke, AAPD president, said in a prepared statement.

Between 1988-1994 and 1999-2002, there was a 15.2 percent increase in cavities among kids aged 2 to 5 in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Research indicates that nearly one-third of toddlers with tooth decay problems used sippy cups, the AAPD noted.

The academy offered the following tips for parents:

• Sippy cups are meant to be transitional training tools to help children switch from bottles to cups. Sippy cups should not be used for extended periods of time.

• Unless it's being used at mealtime, a sippy cup should be filled only with water. Frequent drinking of any other liquid — even if it's diluted — from a bottle or a sippy cup should be avoided.

• Sippy cups shouldn't be used at bedtime or naptime unless they have only water in them.

"Keeping only water in the sippy cup outside of mealtime helps prevent against the development of unhealthy 'grazing' habits. It also helps guard against cavities," Hunke said.

-- Robert Preidt, HealthDay News

What you can do
Even before your baby sports that first tooth, it's a good idea to get into the habit of wiping his gums with gauze or a wet washcloth at least twice a day. As soon as your child's willing and able, encourage him to brush his own teeth. He probably won't be able to do a thorough job until he's school age, so brush your teeth together and then "check" each other's teeth to see if they're clean.
• Learn how to care for your baby or toddler's gums and emerging teeth and what to do if he doesn't like it when you brush them.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and most pediatric dentists say it's a good idea to bring your child to a dentist around the time he turns 1. If your child's over 1 and you haven't taken him for a dental checkup, consider making an appointment soon, especially if you notice signs of tooth decay such as mouth pain, particularly while eating.

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