Part of a baby’s overall oral health is having a healthy tongue. Though most parents do focus on keeping their child’s gums and teeth clean, the tongue is also an important factor that needs to be a part of taking care of your baby’s oral health overall. Below is some great information on tongue cleaning for babies.

Do you really need to clean a baby’s tongue?

It’s a question a lot of parents ask. 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. Tongue cleaning can help remove bacteria caused by lingering food particles that may otherwise reside in a baby’s mouth for a long time. Some dentists say that cleaning is not necessary unless there is significant build up from milk or formula, or there are signs of bacteria growth such as bad breath. If you are unsure whether you should be cleaning your baby’s tongue at all, consult your pediatric dentist.

How to clean a baby’s tongue

If you’ve consulted with your pediatric dentist and they suggest tongue cleaning as a part of your baby’s regular oral hygiene, there are a few things to keep in mind to make it a more pleasant experience for you and your baby. First, wash your hands thoroughly before you put them in your baby’s mouth!  You can use a soft, sterile gauze, cotton pad or cloth and dampen it lightly with water. Don’t use overly cold or overly hot water to dampen the cloth; strive for room temperature for optimal comfort. Encourage your little one to open their mouth by lowering the tip of your baby’s lips. Next, you need to wrap the cloth on your index finger so that you can use it to clean the baby’s tongue. While there are some who might recommend using something other than water, it’s best to consult your pediatrician before you use anything else to insure there are no adverse reactions.

Start by simply introducing the cloth into the baby’s mouth; this is going to be an unusual sensation and make take a couple tries to get the baby comfortable enough to allow you to clean. Rub the tongue very gently to remove any food particles, milk or formula film or other material that can cause bacterial growth.

More information regarding tongue cleaning

The protocols and methods of cleaning a baby’s tongue vary significantly according to the age of babies, but overall, a daily cleaning is ideal until the child is old enough to brush their teeth on their own.

As you can imagine, not every baby is going to enjoy this experience!  There are a few videos on how to clean your babies tongue that you can watch, or you can consult with your pediatric dentist and ask them to demonstrate the best technique for effectively ridding your baby’s tongue of unwanted film, food particles or bacteria.