Sippy Cup Warning
A bill that required a dental decay warning label on sippy cups and baby bottles was vetoed by Governor David Paterson yesterday. The label would have alerted parents that there is a risk of tooth decay from prolonged use of a “vessel with a duckbilled lid, bill-shaped extension or bill-shaped spout.”
In his veto message, Governor Patterson wrote: “Brief warning labels are simply not the best vehicle to convey detailed information about general parental practice and proper use of a product that is not inherently dangerous.”
Why are sippy cups bad?
Sippy cups and prolonged bottle use may cause more than dental issues; they may cause speech delay/articulation delay. Children age four or younger often use a sippy cup because these cups don’t spill. Toddlers and young children love sippy cups because suckling from these spouts is soothing and organizing.
When a child suckles from a sippy cup, bottle, breast, or on a pacifier, thumb, etc., the jaw, lips, and tongue all move as one unit. Children need to practice using these mouth muscles separately to achieve clear speech.
Children with tongue thrusts have often used a sippy cup or the like way past age one when their usage should have been eliminated (unless a child uses one of these vessels for nutritional purposes). When the tongue thrusts forward, it may push against and displace the front teeth resulting in orthodontic and articulation issues.
What type of cup should your child use instead?
Teach your child to drink from an open cup., and encourage sips to be taken with only the lips on the rim of the cup, not the teeth/jaw.
Teach your child to drink from a straw cup, preferably one without a one-way, spill-preventing valve. Although your child may suckle on this straw (place an inch or more of straw between the teeth and pump the liquid into the mouth with help from the jaw), you can encourage placement of the tip of the straw between puckered lips and keeping the teeth off the straw.
If you feel that your child already has an articulation delay, and you have eliminated sippy cups, etc., it may be best to meet with a speech therapist who can guide you on good speech habits, including therapeutic straw drinking.
Stephanie provides private speech therapy in children’s homes in NYC’s Upper East Side. Contact Stephanie Sigal, M.A. CCC-SLP, at email@example.com or 646-295-4473.