Tooth Tips: Sippy Cups - The Good and the Not-So Good

Sippy cups are very handy when a very young child is developing the hand coordination to steadily hold a cup of liquid. They keep kids clean and clear from spills. But every year, they - and bottles and pacifiers - cause thousands of injuries to childrens' mouths and teeth.

Toddlers learning to walk should not be carrying a sippy cup or a bottle because when they topple over - which is what toddlers do - the cup or bottle bangs into their teeth. It's similar to a child's falling into a table or hard surface, except with a sippy cup or bottle, the hard surface is right in the child's mouth. That causes a lot of tooth and mouth damage.

By the time children are learning to walk, pediatricians strongly encourage parents to wean them off sippy cups, bottles and pacifiers. If toddlers still need them, they should drink their beverages at a table, not wandering around holding their cups.