How to Clean Infant Tongue

Baby's tongue

Along with optimal nutrition, it is very important to maintain healthy dental hygiene in newborn babies. ‘How to clean a baby’s tongue’ is one of the most frequently asked questions by new parents. Even if the task seems to be simple, most babies cry a lot while performing the procedure, thereby making it complicated. This is why most parents prefer to do it when the baby is in a happy mood or is laughing. It is important to perform basic oral hygiene procedures during the first two years to keep the baby’s mouth healthy and fresh.

Why You Need to Clean Your Baby’s Tongue

One of the simplest, yet most important tasks of our everyday oral hygiene involves cleaning the tongue. But in newborns, this simple task also looks quite difficult to perform. Proper cleaning of the tongue regularly helps prevent bad breath, bacterial accumulations and risk of oral infections and diseases affecting gums and teeth.

Cleaning and massaging of the mouth need to be done even before the eruption of teeth in babies. Moreover, cleaning and massaging the baby’s gums in the initial stages can help in the process of teething and maintain healthy dental hygiene.

How to Clean Infant’s Tongue?

Here are the steps you can follow for cleaning your baby’s tongue:

  1. The cleaning can be done with a gauze or finger cloth wrapped around your fingers or by tongue-cleaners available in the medical stores.
  2. Ensure that your hands are clean before you start the procedure.
  3. Moisten the gauze with warm water and wrap it around your finger. Rest your baby in a comfortable position by cradling them in one arm and use the other hand to clean the mouth.
  4. Gently open the mouth of the baby and put your finger inside to clean the tongue.
  5. Once you put the finger inside, scrape the tongue in circular motion.
  6. After cleaning the tongue finish the procedure by massaging the baby’s cheeks, teeth and gums in a gentle manner.
  7. Gum cleaners can be used to remove the build-ups which you are unable to clean with your hands; if the cleaners fail to remove the build-ups, then consult the doctor for further advice. Carefully avoid fluoridated items as the baby can ingest the fluoride in it.
  8. This cleaning procedure needs to be performed at least once a day preferably after feeding.
  9. Generally, doctors recommend soft brushes specially designed for babies can be used for cleaning the tongue and cavities.
  10. It is best to use the supplies prescribed by the doctor and avoid using drugs with foaming action.

Precautions You Should Take

These are the following precautions you need to take:

  • Regular dental visits are recommended once the first tooth becomes visible (generally between 3-9 months).
  • Complete dental examination of the infant, and fluoride status review as per doctor’s advice.
  • Indulge in detailed discussions related to nursing and bottle feeding and other dental concerns with the dentist.
  • Follow the dentist’s instructions on how to keep the infant’s mouth clean.

Baby at the dentist

More Tips for Cleaning Baby’s Tongue

  • Using water is the best way to clean the baby’s tongue. Use a piece of soft gauze or cotton cloth to dip into warm water and clean the tongue. Be careful about the temperature of the water; it should not be too hot as it may hurt the baby’s taste buds.
  • Engage the baby in any interesting activity while cleaning the tongue.
  • Another alternative is to use glycerine to clean the baby’s tongue. The glycerine used here is not the same as the one used as a body moisturizer. Mention the purpose of it to the pharmacist while purchasing it from the drugstore. This one is sweet and warm in the baby’s mouth. A small drop is enough to clean the tongue.
  • If you see white particles glued to the baby’s tongue, then it can be cleaned using a tiny drop of toothpaste but be sure to rinse it off thoroughly in order to avoid swallowing of the toothpaste.
  • It is important to clean the gums and inside cheeks while cleaning the tongue.
  • Some babies become cranky and do not allow to clean their mouth. Wait for them to be in a good mood and try cleaning, rather than using force.
  • Regular visits to a dentist to ensure the dental hygiene and other concerns will help in an overall healthy lifestyle.

Oral hygiene can never be started too early. The passageway to the inner systems is susceptible to infections and disease, especially at such a young age. Cleaning your baby’s tongue will go a long way in having perfect oral health.

Also Read: Oral Thrush in Babies