Dentists are advising open cups to combat tooth decay in little ones

A new British baby brand has been given an award as a promoter of oral health and experts have said that all parents should be using Babycup.

This marks a major shift in the way that parents have always given their toddlers juice, and the experts have highly praised the product and given it a public accolade in a popular annual awards ceremony for nursery products.

Lynette Anear, the NHS Oral Health Promoter, has commented on Babycup saying that it is ideal for for when baby first starts taking drinks when they are being weaned.

She added that it was the perfect size for little hands to grasp hold of and encouraged them to drink from the rim which is a vital part of oral development. She believes that Babycup should be on sale everywhere so it becomes a natural part of a child’s progression from bottle to cup.

The final votes in the Lovedbyparents Awards are cast by the public and so it was with great delight that the mum behind Babycup’s ‘Little cups for little people’ received a winner’s badge in these highly competitive awards.

Up against big name brands, Babycup, a range of mini open drinking cups for 6mths to 2years+, came in from having only launched a few months ago and bagged a Bronze award in the Best Feeding Accessory category. No mean feat for a product without the gizmos many parents have come to associate with infant cups.

Babycup is purely and simply a cup-shaped-cup, but it is in miniature. It is precisely this simplicity that has caught the attention of not only a growing body of healthcare professionals who are advocating a back to basics approach as best for baby and toddler health, but now also the voting public aswell.

Despite the seeming simplicity of Babycup it has been precision-engineered to ensure all aspects are just right. From the exact width of the drinking edge to the angle of the cup and the circumference size, hugely detailed planning has gone into getting this tiny cup spot on. It has also been tested to stringent European safety standards and is made of non-toxic BPA-free materials.

The new Babycup range of open drinking cups meets the advice of experts who believe that no-spill valves and spouted drinking cups can lead to a plethora of childhood problems and that open drinking cups are the healthy choice. There are concerns amongst dentists regarding rotting teeth and worries amongst orthodontists that prolonged sucking alters facial growth. The American Dental Association advises that to help prevent tooth decay children should be encouraged to drink from a cup by their first birthday and specialist orthodontist, Dr Derek Mahony, who has treated thousands of children, says “An open cup means you are allowing your child to develop a healthy sipping habit.”

Whilst there are many areas of raising children for which technology can be argued as having brought great benefits, drinking is one aspect for which more and more leading healthcare specialists are urging parents to ditch the spouts, forget the gizmos, and drop the no-spill valves.

There is an increasing belief amongst numerous healthcare disciplines – such as orthodontists, dentists, speech therapists, occupational therapists and orofacial myologists– that no-spill valves and spouted drinking cups are a cause of many childhood problems including crooked or crowded teeth, tooth decay, speech impediments, speech delays, chewing and swallowing difficulties, and poor facial and jaw development.

Sara Keel, the mother of three behind the Babycup brand, believes there are further benefits too and says “As well as the dental and jaw health benefits of not having to suck on a spout, my children’s fine motor skills have developed amazingly from learning to hold a Babycup. My youngest’s pencil grip at 11 months was better than many 5 year olds.”

Surrey-based Dentist, Dr Andre Hedger, is an advocate of this back to basics approach and comments, “Baby bottles and tippy cups can contribute to a poor dental arch and jaw function, which could lead to overcrowded teeth and malformed faces. This can cause mouth-breathing, rather than nose-breathing, which leads to further postural defects. Every aspect of a child’s upbringing needs to be addressed to create healthy and vital children and adults and Babycup is one more way to get there.”

Keel feels that the barrier to helping reduce these childhood problems is us, “It’s so often our own decisions as parents – or our own fears or prejudices – that stop our babies and children from developing in the most natural and healthy way. It’s up to us as parents to change that.”

Another highly respected childcare expert, Gill Rapley, co-author of Baby-led Weaning: Helping your child to love good food said, “Babycup promotes learning, independence, co-ordination, social skills, jaw development and dental health – quite a package for something that small.”

Keel firmly believes that ‘Every Sip Counts’ and says, every sip from a Babycup, instead of a suck from a spout, is a great move forward in healthy child development. “Some parents are nervous at the idea that a baby can use an open cup but really they needn’t be. Babies and toddlers amaze us when we give them the chance. And Babycup is small enough that even if there is a little spill, it really is not much. I urge every parent to add Babycup to their weaning kit. It’s like learning to ride on a balance bike that also has amazing health benefits – get it right from the beginning and not only will you not need stabilisers, there’s also a huge health advantage. It really does make sense.”

The Babycup range of open cups is made with little people in mind. They are little cups for little people. Translucent so baby can see inside, and dishwasher and steriliser safe, they are tiny versions of a regular cup and come in pink, blue, green or yellow and fit neatly in the palm of a young child’s hand.

Babycup is sold in packs of four, RRP £7.99. Stockist details Babycup