We all teach our kids to brush their teeth regularly—which is a great habit to have—but do you know the oral hygiene habits you don’t want your children to have?

Here are the top 5 worst oral hygiene habits for kids…

Top 5 Worst Oral Hygiene Habits for Kids

• Taking a bottle to bed. Say no to taking a bottle to bed! Sending a child to bed with a bottle increases their risk of decay and cavities. Sugary residue can remain on their teeth which feeds unhealthy mouth bacteria which can lead to enamel erosion and cavities! Yes, it’s a hard habit to break, but DO IT! If you have to, put water in their bottle and wean them off this habit this way.

• Sucking their thumb. Many infants and toddlers suck their thumbs or other fingers and most of them stop on their own between the ages of two and four. If they don’t stop, this can lead to misaligned teeth, which in turn can lead to expensive orthodontic treatments later in life.

• Swallowing toothpaste. This is a big NO-NO! An excessive amount of toothpaste can lead to fluorosis, a condition caused by ingesting too much fluoride. In severe cases, fluorosis can form brown or white spots on the teeth.  Monitor your children”s brushing habits until they’re responsible enough to use a pea-sized dollop of toothpaste and not swallow it.

• Decreased Brushing Time. Everyone knows brushing their teeth twice daily is an important part of your child’s daily hygiene habits, but it will do them no good if they are not brushing long enough! Don’t let your kiddos sneak out of the bathroom until they have brushed their teeth for at least two minutes!

• Dentist PhobiaMany children (and adults!) are afraid of the dentist. The whole experience, from the noisy drill to the sharp needles, can be overwhelming! Your best bet is to pick a dentist that specializes in pediatrics and has a knack for soothing children’s fears!

One great oral hygiene habit that you can teach your children early is the habit of cleaning their tongues. Not only can tongue cleaning reduce the bacteria that cause bad breath, but it has other great health benefits as well—including reduce risk for certain diseases. Pick up a tongue cleaning kit for your child today! (Remember: a toothbrush and tongue brush should be replaced every 3 months!)