Three years ago, when I became a mother for the first time and delivered a cute baby boy, there were many questions that came to my mind. How will I handle him? Will I be able to take care of him? As I live in a nuclear family setup, I was the only one to take care of my baby. As he grew day by day, I learnt many things on how should one handle a baby. I did everything possible to keep him healthy and give him good hygiene. But one day I saw a layer of white over his tongue while he was laughing. This got me worried as the layer was quite thick. I kept thinking about what it could be? How can this happen to him? Are you looking for the best ways to clean your baby's tongue?
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I visited my doctor and he explained to me that maintaining oral health of the baby is equally important as maintaining overall hygiene. He said baby’s tongue should be cleaned on daily basis to reduce the risk of infection. One of the most common and popular infections most babies suffer is ORAL THRUSH which is a fungal infection caused by candida albicans. Mouth thrush usually affects babies because their immune system is still developing which leads to low resistance to fight infections. In toddlers, it is much necessary to clean teeth and tongue on regular basis, as they keep on munching chocolates, toffee and sweets.
For my son’s overall health, I usually use home remedies rather than medicines or any other mode of treatment. Same for cleaning his mouth, I followed simple cleaning techniques.
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The Best 3 Ways to Clean Your Baby’s Tongue
You can follow these basic steps to clean your baby's tongue who is too young to do this by himself.
#1. Tongue Cleaning using Cloth
- Clean your hands with soap.
- Now take a piece of Sterilized cloth, gauze and wrap over finger for better grip.
- Take a glass of warm water and dip your finger in water.
- Gently put your finger in baby's mouth wipe upper and lower gum pad as well.
- The best time to clean baby's mouth is when the baby is in a happy mood and playing.
- It's advised not to clean baby's mouth immediately after feeding.
#2. Clean or soft bristled toothbrush
- You can even use gum cleaner.
- Avoid using items containing fluoride as a baby might gulp them.
- You can use a soft bristled toothbrush of silicon and it is also available in the market or online stores.
#3. Sterilized ear bud
- Clean your hands properly.
- Take sterilized ear bud and dip it in warm water.
- Clean baby's tongue with this bud, but be careful not to put too much pressure.
- Make sure to have a tight grip on the bud.
- Usually, food over the tongue is being confused with oral thrush, which is similar to mouth thrush.
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What is mouth thrush?
Mouth thrush is kind of fungal infection caused by the yeast Candida Albicans which is most common in babies.
According to National Health Services UK, around 1 in every 20 newborn babies suffer from oral thrush. Oral thrush usually happens to every 7 babies in the 4th week of life. After this, chances
gets decreased gradually.
How to know if baby has oral thrush?
If you see a white coating on your baby's tongue along with white patches in the inner part of cheeks which is familiar to curd or cheese stains and cannot be rubbed easily, then it’s a sign of oral thrush. Oral thrush even makes it difficult for baby to take feed.
Though it's not a serious problem to consider, but if you feel its not subsiding or getting relieved, then it's better to consult your doctor as soon as possible.
Points to be kept in mind for babies with mouth thrush
- Regular sterilization of soother, toys which baby uses while teething.
- Regular sterilization of feeding bottles and utensils immediately after use.
- Everyone in the family should wash their hands properly after changing diapers.
Nursing mothers should also maintain proper hygiene. Any infection in nipple can also cause mouth thrush in baby.
Advice for breastfeeding mothers
If your baby has oral thrush and you're breastfeeding, there are chances for your baby to pass a thrush infection to you. This might affect your breasts and cause breast/nipple thrush.
Symptoms of nipple thrush
#1. Pain while you're feeding your baby, which may continue after the feed is finished.
#2. Cracked, flaky or sensitive nipples and areolas (the darker area around your nipple) which might cause excessive pain while feeding your baby.
#3. Changes in the colour of your nipples or areolas.
If you have nipple thrush/soreness, then there's a risk of your baby passing thrush on to you.
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You'll be advised to continue breastfeeding while using an antifungal cream such as miconazole to treat the infection after every feed to control infection. You should use the cream on your nipples after every feed and remove any that are left before the next feed with a soft damp cloth. This will avoid any medicine enter baby mouth.
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