Should I Clean My Baby’s Tongue? How Do I Do It?

Last updated: May 21, 2021

Contributed by:
Richard Honaker M.D.
Primary Care Physician
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Most people believe that oral hygiene is usually linked with cleaning teeth. But a good oral cleansing means taking good care of other parts of the mouth too. This includes the tongue and gums. Your baby’s tongue in particular is a good place to clean.

Oral hygiene is of great importance for babies as the tongue is the main organ for suckling.  Your baby’s tongue should be cleaned on a regular basis to reduce the risk of fungus, bacteria, or other germs.

Newborn babies are also at higher risk of oral thrush because their immune system is not completely developed.

What Is Oral Thrush?

Oral thrush, also known as oral candidiasis, is a fungi infection of the genus Candida that develops on the mucous membranes of the mouth. This is more common in people with low immune systems.

Apart from babies it is also common in adults and usually in people undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

It is mostly harmless and easily treatable. According to National Health Services, around one in every 20 newborn babies are affected by oral thrush, rising to around one in every seven babies in the fourth week of life.


After this, the chances of your baby developing thrush will gradually decrease. This is the same fungus that causes diaper rash. In babies, mothers can pass this candida by, taking antibiotics while breastfeeding, or having thrush and breastfeeding.

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Simple Ways To Clean Your Baby’s Tongue

Sterilized Ear Bud

Before doing this, it is best that you wash your hands properly and sterilize baby ear bud. Dip the bud in lukewarm drinking water and gently roll it on your baby’s tongue. Do not forget to wipe the upper and lower gums and avoid going to deep in the mouth.

Wipe With Cloth/Gauze

Wash your hands properly with the soap and then sterilize the gauze, cotton or wash cloth with lukewarm drinking water.  Wrap this cloth around your finger and gently put your finger inside the baby’s mouth.

Also wipe gums upper and lower ones. Try to involve the baby when the baby is in a happy mood. Try to do this in circular activity for  better results.

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Clean With Soft Bristled Toothbrush

You can also choose gum cleaner when the babies have teeth around the age of 6-14 months. Try to use soft bristled toothbrush for cleaning the mouth.

Moistened the brush before using it. Use it on both teeth and tongue in circular motion. Try to avoid using the brush on newborn tongue. Change your babies toothbrush after every 3-4 months.

Talk To A Doctor! Precautions To Be Taken

It is very important that you take few precautions when engaging in this activity and always talk to a doctor before trying anything you read online:

  • If you are using toothpaste, clean mouth properly so as to remove the remains
  • Do not use fluoride toothpaste
  • Try to cradle you baby while doing this
  • Be gentle when cleaning the tongue and do not go deep

If the white layer persists then this might be severe case of oral thrush. If the above method does not help you out and you can still see the patches then you need to consult your pediatrician immediately.

Are you curious to know more about your baby’s oral hygiene and how to improve it? Then consult our doctors via our 100% free online doctor chat today. Click below and start chatting with a doctor in just minutes.

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Arfah Khadija is a passionate and curious businesswoman eager to grow her skills and abilities in brand management and digital marketing. She firmly believes that top brands sell stories that resonate perfectly with consumers. Arfah is a health tech marketing contributor for Your Doctors Online.

Disclaimer: This article provides general information and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or medical condition. If you require specific advice, please consult one of our medical professionals through the app. However, in case of an emergency, please call 911.

About Richard Honaker M.D.

Dr. Richard Honaker has over 40 years of experience as a primary care physician specializing in several different areas of medicine. He is able to provide expert case review and analysis for insurance and workers compensation cases as well as providing online medical consultations as the Chief Medical Advisor for Your Doctors Online.

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