Correct Ways to Clean Baby’s Tongue

image001 Growth and development of babies are dependent on several factors such as optimal nutrition, prevention from diseases and overall healthy living. Babies require special attention from parents as a lot of care and caution is needed. Likewise, how to clean a baby's tongue is also a difficult task because most babies cry a lot in the procedure that makes it difficult to perform this simple yet important task. It is seen that parents usually make their babies laugh and clean their tongue with finger or sometimes engage them in some activity, then clean the tongue properly. In every aspect, cleaning the tongue of a baby is not a piece of cake.

Why Should You Clean Your Baby’s Tongue?

Parents who don't take care of their child's oral health face difficulties in the maintenance of overall health. If the tongue is not cleaned on regular basis, the risk of infection and diseases by germs and bacteria increases, leading to gum and dental issues.

The primary cause why healthcare providers advise tongue cleaning is that it helps in removing unnecessary food particles, diminishing bad breath and reducing bacterial accumulation. Tongue cleaning twice a day accompanied with flossing and brushing is more beneficial and effective as compared to doing flossing and brushing alone. It is important to focus on this habit and educate your child to make it a part of his oral hygiene.

How to Clean a Baby’s Tongue

The protocols and methods of cleaning a baby’s tongue vary significantly according to the age of babies.

1. Baby Younger than 1 Year Old

  • Before cleaning the tongue of child, make sure your hands are clean. Prepare warm water in a bowl.
  • Now take a small manageable piece of gauze piece and wrap it around the finger. Moisten the gauze in warm water. Baby tongue cleaners can also be used instead of a gauze, which are specially designed finger cloth available in most drugstores.
  • There are several ways in which a parent can clean the tongue; the simplest of all is cradle the child in one arm and clean the mouth by second hand. In this way, the child will feel the sense of security and affection.
  • Put the finger over lips of baby for opening the mouth.
  • As soon as the mouth is open, place the finger on his tongue and rub/ scrape gently over the surface of tongue in circular motion.
  • After cleaning the tongue, rotate the finger around and massage cheeks sides, gums and teeth gently.
  • If it is difficult to remove buildup, then gum cleaners are necessary. Avoid using fluoridated items as baby can ingest it
  • If the cleaner failed to clean the stubborn buildup then consult the doctor for an advice.
  • Perform this procedure of cleaning at least one time in a day especially after feeding.
  • Infant's soft bristled, moistened toothbrushes are available in the market which most doctors advise for tongue and oral cavity cleaning.
  • Avoid using dentifrice against foaming action as it can irritate your baby.

2. Toddlers Between 1 to 5 Years Old

Children between ages 1 to 5 years cannot properly take good care of their oral health. Doctors recommend regular brushing of teeth gently in addition to tongue cleaning twice a day in this age group. However, it should be kept in mind that the use of scraper is strictly contraindicated. A finger toothbrush, which is soft and can slide over the end of finger, is ideal for this age group for tongue cleaning. As the child reaches 2 years of age, a little dollop of toothpaste can be given to child, but remind him not to swallow it. It is important to clean the tongue gently as harsh cleaning can damage the taste buds. Make sure that the child does not gag as this can cause vomiting. Always brush the teeth first, then clean the tongue.

If you want to learn more regarding ways to clean a baby's tongue, here’s a simple video:

More Tips on How to Clean a Baby’s Tongue

  • Use a piece of soft cotton cloth and dip it in warm water, but be careful that water is not too hot as it may irritate the baby’s oral cavity and taste buds that may interfere with normal eating and drinking behavior.
  • Force the baby to open his mouth by lowering the tip of lip.
  • It is seen that in some babies the tongue particles are strictly glued. In this situation, rub the tongue by using a cloth with pea sized toothpaste for removing the solid glued particles (that are a significant threat to bacterial growth).
  • It is important to wash/rinse the mouth of baby properly to limit the probability of toothpaste retention in the mouth (as the child may swallow the toothpaste residues). This should be a topic of concern since some toothpaste contains chemicals and hazardous agents.
  • While cleaning tongue makes sure to clean the gums, teeth and cheeks as the baby will not give a second chance for at least some time.
  • Some babies do not give chance to clean their mouth. In all such cases, it is important to visit the child specialist to learn effective solutions for this problem.
  • Make sure to keep up with pediatric visits and feel free to discuss queries and concerns if you have any.

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