The researchers note that both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry have issued recommendations about transitioning to a lidless cup by 12 months of age to prevent dental caries (note that in both referenced articles above, they say 18 months is the upper limit for complete cessation of bottle usage). Furthermore, in this article from the journal of the American Academy of Family Physicians, pacifier use after one year of age is linked to an increased incidence of otitis media (ear infection).
They also make the point that in 2010, there was a 29.6% decrease in injuries from 1991. They note that,
"This trend was largely driven by a decrease in bottle-related injuries over time; we speculate that either bottles were involved in fewer or less serious injuries or fewer children used bottles over time (because they transitioned increasingly earlier to a sippy cup or cup or because more children were breastfed or breastfed longer)."So what does all this have to do with you? Based on the evidence gathered in this retrospective analysis, it appears that it is very important to teach your child to remain seated when drinking. Allowing a toddler to run around with a bottle or sippy cup isn't a good idea. It is also important to note that babies and toddlers who are breastfeeding instead of using a bottle or sippy cup are not at risk for any of the types of injuries noted in this study.
Some babies really do seem to have a stronger suck need than others. A breastfeeding mother who's baby is nearing the one year mark might decide to continue nursing a little longer to help baby through the many stresses of toddlerhood. An in-tune, attached mother is the real expert on her baby. You are the only one who can make the decision about what your little one needs, so do the research and follow your gut!