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For children ready to venture off the bottle and onto bigger and better things, what should a parent choose? I get asked this a lot.

As a dental professional, I can tell you that the best choice when drinking water is to teach your child to drink from a cup. Drinking from a cup helps a child develop proper tongue placement and helps with speech development.

However, when your child is drinking something other than water, a straw is the best choice. Straws help build strength for oral motor skills. Straws are inexpensive and disposable.

Juice boxes often come with one attached. Straw trainer cups are also a fine choice, in my professional opinion. Sippy cups actually bathe the teeth is the sugary beverage. I have seen a lot of cavities as a result of sippy cup use in children.

So remember, always drink water in a cup and everything else with a straw. With this simple thought in mind, your child will develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime.