Media Release: Dangers of sippy cups

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Dayton Children's offers tips to protect young teeth

02-01-2009 (Dayton, OH) - Most parents know that they need to watch what their kids eat and make them brush regularly.

"Unfortunately, many are not aware that letting kids sip on sugary drinks for hours or putting them to bed with a bottle of milk can be just as harmful," says Gordon Womack, DDS, medical director of Dayton Pediatric Dentistry at The Children's Medical Center of Dayton. "These habits can expose teeth to sugar for extended periods of time, increasing the risk of tooth decay."

The results from a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report show that young children do not receive the proper oral care they need to promote optimal oral health. Tooth decay declined in every other age group, except for children aged two to five years that increased from 24 percent to 28 percent between 1988-1994 and 1999-2004.

In 2007, Dr. Womack had almost 900 cases of abscessed teeth.

"The problem is the frequency at which sippy cup or bottle contents touch the teeth," says Dr. Womack. "Each sip equals one hour of acid. If a child goes to bed with a bottle or sippy cup and takes a few sips throughout the night that could equal 4 or more hours of acid eating away at his or her teeth. The same is true when a child takes sips throughout the day without brushing in between sips."

Despite the fact that permanent adult teeth eventually replace baby teeth, it's important that they remain healthy and in place until they're lost naturally since they serve several critical functions, including:

  • Fostering good nutrition by permitting proper chewing;
  • aiding speech development,
  • helping permanent teeth by saving space for them; and
  • creating self-esteem - a healthy smile helps children feel good about how they look to others.

Because sippy cups prevent spills, children often use them for long periods of time over months and years—rather than as a transitional drinking device, a purpose for which they were intended.

Use these three sippy cup tips from Dayton Children's and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry to protect young teeth:

  1. The sippy cup is a training tool to help children transition from a bottle to a cup. It shouldn't be used for a long period of time - it's not a bottle and it's not a pacifier.
  2. Unless being used at mealtime, the sippy cup should only be filled with water. Frequent drinking of any other liquid, even if diluted, from a bottle or no-spill training cup should be avoided.
  3. Sippy cups should not be used at naptime or bedtime unless they only have water in them.

"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," says Dr. Womack. "When children sip for a long time on sugared beverages, the risk of decay increases. Sippy cups should only contain water unless it's mealtime."

Tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease, yet 90 percent of all tooth decay is preventable. Through the Kohl's Cares for Kids campaign Dayton Children's and Kohl's Department stores have partnered to raise awareness during the National Dental Health Month of February.

Since 1999, Kohl's Department stores have donated more than $871,600 to Dayton's Children's. Kohl's commitment to Dayton Children's is made possible through Kohl's Cares for Kids. Net profits from the sale of special merchandise supports children's health and education.

About Kohl's Department Stores
Based in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, Kohl's is a family-focused, value-oriented specialty department store offering moderately priced, exclusive and national brand apparel, shoes, accessories, beauty and home products in an exciting shopping environment. Kohl's operates 957 stores in 47 states and will celebrate the opening of its 1,000th store in the fall. A company committed to the communities it serves, Kohl's has raised more than $102 million for children's initiatives nationwide through its Kohl's Cares for Kids philanthropic program. For a list of store locations and information, or for the added convenience of shopping online, visit

About Dayton Children's
Dayton Children's is the region's only medical facility dedicated to caring for infants, children and teens. Consistently recognized as one of the country's top pediatric hospitals, Dayton Children's provides medical treatment, advice and information for children and families from 20 Ohio counties and eastern Indiana. By demonstrating compliance with The Joint Commission's national quality standards, Dayton Children's has earned The Joint Commission's Gold Seal of Approval. For more children's health and safety information, visit our website at

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Phone: 937-641-3666


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