The Dangers of Sucking: How Baby Food Pouches are Damaging the Oral Development of Children

The Dangers of Sucking: How Baby Food Pouches are Damaging the Oral Development of Children

Here at Babycup, we’re all about eating and drinking correctly. That’s not to say we’re afraid of a little mess (bring on that baby led weaning with delicious and nutritious finger foods!), but rather, that we’re concerned about the way little mouths are being trained to develop through improper mouth action.

Our Babycup First Cup is hailed the best drinking solution for little ones by dental and oral health experts all over the world. Why? Because drinking from an ergonomically designed, open-top cup is natural. Sucking, which is widely promoted through the use of sippy cups and now, in more recent years, food pouches, is not. Furthermore, not only is sucking from pouches and cups un-natural, it is seriously detrimental to tiny teeth and oral development.

In today’s blog, we’re looking specifically at food pouches.

food pouches

This quick and convenient delivery system may seem to be a god-send for many busy mums and dads (sucking directly from a pouch, as many babies do, is of course a faster option than spoon feeding) but in reality, they come with real problems.

Currently, there is so little research into baby food pouches and the effects they may have, that the Ministry of Health (NZ) is currently unable to advise on their use. But, despite that, 70% of all baby food now comes in this form of packaging. There are many worries that arise from these facts, and anecdotal reports suggesting that many children are being allowed to suck food straight from the pouch are concerning, to say the least.

One major worry about this type of consumption is over-eating and displacing other nutrient rich foods such as breast milk, but there is another issue, one close to the heart of Babycup that is also causing healthcare and dental professionals to query the safety of baby food pouches…

Associate professor Anne-Louise Heath, from the Health Research Council (NZ) is heading a new study which will observe 625 babies between the ages of eight and nine months and measure their nutrient intake while assessing the impact the food pouches are having. The research team will also track dental health to see if the sugary and acidic content in baby food are causing problems.

Of oral health concerns, Heath says:

“When these baby foods are consumed by sucking on a pouch, the teeth are bathed in fruit sugars, and probably much more so than if they were to eat a whole fruit or be spoon-fed. This could increase the risk of tooth decay.”

And there is plenty of evidence to back this up.

food pouches

Sucking, whether that is to drink or eat, has been proven time and again to cause serious damage to the teeth of young children…


This is just one of the reasons why Babycup First Cup is instrumental in the fight to transform the development little teeth and mouths for the better. And damage to baby teeth doesn’t stop at childhood, as these serve as “space savers” for adult teeth. If they are damaged or destroyed, they can’t help guide permanent teeth into their proper position, possibly resulting in crowded or crooked permanent teeth, as well a putting the child at risk of tooth decay and abcesses leading to further infections in the body, as well as speech defects.

However, research performed by children’s food brand Kiddylicious Little Bistro discovered that 70% of parents in Northern Ireland were unaware that the use of spouts, typically found in baby food pouches, can have a detrimental effect on their baby’s speech development and teeth formation. But 44% of these parents said that they would have reconsidered their purchase had they been aware of the teeth defects that baby foods with spouts can cause and 83% called for more information and education as well as baby food manufacturers to be more responsible and honest.

food pouches

Knowledge is power!


Spreading awareness of the facts about ‘sucking’ is the only way to help children through guiding fellow parents.

Help us on our Babycup mission to promote safer, healthier eating and drinking for young children by sharing our educational Babycup blogs and further studies to support this information. The more we spread the word, the more happy smiles we’ll see growing up around us!