Children's dental health is extremely important, which is why so many schools across the country have been asking experts to come and visit their students and talk to them about the importance of keeping their teeth clean. For example, The Florida Times-Union recently reported that military dentists came to talk to a local class about how to keep their teeth healthy, and offered important dental health tips to both children and parents.
Among the many things they recommended was that by age 12 to 14 months, babies should be weaned from the bottle, since prolonged use of bottles may lead to tooth decay. When children drink from the bottle all day, their teeth are constantly getting exposed to the sugars and bacteria in their milk, which is why they need to stop drinking from it as soon as possible.
Tips for weaning
WebMD states that weaning usually comes at a busy time in a baby's life, when he or she is developing hand-eye coordination, teething and learning to crawl. The news source spoke to Laura Jana, M.D., a Nebraska pediatrician and co-author of "Food Fights: Winning the Nutritional Challenges of Parenthood Armed with Insight, Humor and a Bottle of Ketchup," who explained that parents should start early when it comes to transitioning their baby from the bottle to the sippy cup.
"Many [parents] wait until they think their kids can successfully handle the cup instead of treating it like a learning experience," Jana told WebMD.
She said that the better move would be to let children handle the cup even before they have the dexterity and coordination to keep from spilling. It's better that kids get a feel for the cup as early as possible, so they'll be more comfortable with it.
Jennifer Shu, M.D., who co-wrote the book with Jana, states that to wean a baby, parents should put whatever beverage their child is used to - whether it's breast milk or baby formula - into a sippy cup. Furthermore, Shu recommended switching out the bottle with a cup every five to seven days, and putting a little more liquid in the cup and a little less in the bottle each time.
Finally, if the baby is old enough to show preferences, let him or her help pick out the cup, so he or she may be more inclined to drink from the cup without being fussy about it.
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