Choosing the Right Sippy Cup

Published October 14th, 2023 by Rachel MacMullen M.S. CCC-SLP

Hard-topped sippy cups, although commonly used, can have some disadvantages when it comes to oral development. Here are a few key reasons:

Impact on Oral Muscles: Hard spouts require more effort from your child's oral muscles to extract the liquid. This can potentially lead to overuse of certain muscles, which may affect the natural development of oral motor skills necessary for speech and feeding.

Lack of Tongue Movement: Soft, flexible spouts allow for a more natural tongue movement, which is crucial for speech development. Hard tops restrict the tongue's movement and may hinder the development of tongue coordination needed for speech sounds.

Potential for Dental Issues: Prolonged use of hard-topped sippy cups can also impact dental development. The constant pressure on the gums and teeth can lead to misalignment and other dental issues, potentially requiring orthodontic intervention.

Children should transition to regular open cups by around age 1 to promote proper oral motor development. Hard-topped sippy cups can delay this transition and make it more challenging for your child to learn to sip from an open cup.

For these reasons, I often recommend using soft-spout or straw cups as a more developmentally appropriate option for your child. These cups promote a healthier oral motor development, speech development, and dental health. When the time is right, make a smooth transition to open cups to support your child's growing needs and development.

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