How to Clean an Infant’s Tongue?
Taking care of your newborn’s dental hygiene is crucial, even before the first tooth emerges. Besides providing the right nutrition, maintaining oral health is vital. Many new parents wonder about cleaning their baby’s tongue—a challenging task as babies may cry during the process. Despite the difficulty, ensuring proper tongue hygiene is essential for a healthy and fresh mouth. Don’t be discouraged by the initial challenges; consistent efforts in oral care from the early stages contribute to your baby’s overall well-being. So, persevere through the tears, and prioritize your baby’s dental health for a brighter, cavity-free future. In this article, we shall delve into all you need to know about cleaning an infant’s tongue.
Why Do You Need to Clean Your Baby’s Tongue?
Introducing the importance of cleaning your baby’s tongue is paramount for overall oral health. Establishing a routine for tongue hygiene contributes to a healthier mouth and prevents potential issues. Now, let’s delve into why this practice is crucial:
- Bacterial Residue: The tongue can harbor bacteria and milk residue, leading to the formation of a white coating.
- Preventing Thrush: Regular cleaning helps prevent thrush, a common fungal infection in infants.
- Reducing Bad Breath: Tongue cleaning minimizes the accumulation of odor-causing bacteria, promoting fresher breath.
- Establishing Oral Care Habits: Starting early instills good oral hygiene habits, setting the foundation for a lifetime of dental health. You should clean and massage your baby’s mouth even before the eruption of teeth as cleaning and massaging the baby’s gums in the initial stages can help in the process of teething.
How to Clean an Infant’s Tongue?
Whether or not your baby has teeth, you need to clean his mouth and tongue and maintain proper oral hygiene. If you want to know how you can clean your baby’s tongue, follow the steps given below.
- In order to clean your baby’s tongue, the first thing you will need to do is clean your hands. Ensure that your hands are clean before you start the procedure. You can clean your baby’s tongue using a gauze or finger cloth wrapped around your fingers. You can even use tongue cleaners available in medical stores.
- For instance, if you take gauze, moisten the gauze with warm water and wrap it around your finger. Then rest your baby in a comfortable position by cradling him in one arm and using your other hand to clean the mouth.
- Gently open your baby’s mouth and put your finger inside to clean the tongue.
- Once you put the finger inside, gently scrape the tongue in a circular motion.
- After cleaning the tongue finish the procedure by massaging the baby’s teeth (if he has teeth) and gums in a gentle manner.
- You can also use gum cleaners to remove the build-ups. However, if the cleaners fail to remove the build-ups, then consult the doctor for further advice. Avoid using a fluoride paste or fluoride items as the baby can ingest the fluoride in it.
- This cleaning procedure needs to be performed at least once a day preferably after feeding.
- Doctors recommend using soft brushes that are specially designed for babies to clean a baby’s tongue and cavities. If you want to use one for your baby, it is suggested that you consult a doctor and choose the one suggested by your baby’s doctor.
Effective Home Remedies to Clean Your Baby’s Tongue
Maintaining your baby’s oral hygiene is essential, and there are effective home remedies to make this task easier and safer. These remedies not only help clean your baby’s tongue but also contribute to their overall oral health. Let’s explore some practical and natural ways to achieve this:
1. Gentle Massage With a Soft Cloth
Gently massaging your baby’s tongue with a soft, damp cloth can help remove residue and promote blood circulation.
2. Use a Silicone Finger Toothbrush
A silicone finger toothbrush is a gentle option designed for babies. It allows for controlled cleaning without causing discomfort.
3. Natural Glycerin Gel
Applying a small amount of natural glycerin gel on a clean cloth and wiping your baby’s tongue can help eliminate bacteria and residue.
4. Breast Milk Application
Applying a small amount of breast milk on the tongue has natural antibacterial properties, aiding in keeping the mouth clean.
Remember, always consult with your pediatrician before trying any new cleaning methods to ensure they are suitable for your baby’s individual needs.
Things to Keep in Mind
In order to ensure proper oral hygiene for your baby, here are certain things that you will need to do.
- As soon as your baby’s first tooth erupts, you must take him for regular dental visits. Regular dental visits are recommended as soon as the baby’s first tooth becomes visible (which generally happens between 3 and 9 months of age).
- Get a complete dental examination of your baby and a fluoride status review as per the doctor’s advice.
- If you have any concerns related to your child’s dental health, speak to your dentist about it. If you have any concerns related to nursing or bottle-feeding for your baby, discuss them with your doctor.
- Follow the dentist’s instructions on how to keep the infant’s mouth clean.
Additional Tips to Clean Your Baby’s Tongue
You already know how to clean your baby’s tongue step-by-step, but we have some more tips that will provide answers to any query you may have concerning oral hygiene for your baby. The tips stated below are more like precautionary measures – so don’t skip them!
- 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. However, make sure that the water is not too hot for your baby as it may hurt your baby.
- Engage your little one in any interesting activity while cleaning his 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 or else your baby might swallow the toothpaste.
- Clean the gums and the inside of his cheeks thoroughly while cleaning the tongue.
- Some babies become cranky and do not allow to clean their mouths. If your little one is irritable while you clean his tongue, wait until he is in a good mood.
- Last but not least, take your baby for regular dental visits.
1. When Should I Start Brushing My Baby’s Teeth?
You can start brushing your baby’s teeth as early as his first tooth erupts. You can use a clean, damp cloth, a gauze pad, or a finger brush to clean his first teeth and tongue. Once his teeth start erupting, gently brush his teeth in the morning and before his bedtime.
2. Can I Use Toothpaste to Brush My Baby’s Teeth?
You can use fluoride toothpaste to brush your baby’s teeth, however, the amount of toothpaste used should not be more than a smear or the size of a rice grain.
3. Can You Use Mouthwash to Clean Your Baby’s Tongue?
No, it is not recommended to use mouthwash for cleaning a baby’s tongue. Most mouthwashes contain alcohol and other chemicals that may be too harsh for an infant’s delicate oral tissues.
4. Is It Safe to Use Tongue Scraper on Baby’s Tongue?
Using a tongue scraper on a baby’s tongue is not recommended. Babies have sensitive tongues, and using a scraper can cause discomfort or even minor injuries. Gentle methods like a soft cloth or silicone brush are safer.
5. Can Cleaning an Infant’s Tongue Lead to Discomfort or Pain in Them?
Yes, cleaning an infant’s tongue can sometimes lead to discomfort or mild fussiness. It’s crucial to use gentle methods, be patient, and make the experience as soothing as possible to minimize any potential discomfort.
6. Is There a Chance of Encountering Risks While Cleaning a Baby’s Tongue?
While cleaning a baby’s tongue is generally safe, there’s a risk of causing discomfort if not done gently. Additionally, using inappropriate tools or methods may pose a risk of injury. Always consult with a pediatrician for guidance on safe and effective tongue-cleaning practices.
It’s never too early to start paying attention to the oral hygiene of your baby. Cleaning your baby’s tongue and teeth will go a long way in ensuring proper oral hygiene – so clean your baby’s mouth on a regular basis and keep him happy!
1. Infant and Children’s Oral Health; New York State Department of Health; https://www.health.ny.gov/prevention/dental/birth_oral_health.htm?
2. Breastfeeding; American Dental Association; https://www.mouthhealthy.org/all-topics-a-z/breastfeeding/
3. Dental care for babies; raisingchildren.net.au; https://raisingchildren.net.au/babies/health-daily-care/dental-care/dental-care-babies#
4. Teething & Tooth Care; American Academy of Pediatrics; https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/teething-tooth-care/Pages/default.aspx
5. Oral thrush; Mayo Clinic; https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/oral-thrush/symptoms-causes/syc-20353533
6. Toothbrushing Tips for Young Children; American Academy of Pediatrics; https://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/oral-health/Pages/Toothbrushing-Tips-for-Young-Children.aspx
7. Dental: Teeth and Gum Care for Infants and Toddlers; Nationwide Children’s; https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/family-resources-education/health-wellness-and-safety-resources/helping-hands/dental-teeth-and-gum-care-for-infants-and-toddlers