Oral hygiene is important for our overall health. That is why we brush our teeth daily multiple times throughout the day. But while the task seems trivial to us adults—and sometimes even feels like a chore—we forget that when we were babies, we did not do these things by ourselves. Oral hygiene for kids is a lot more complicated than we think.
It is important for us parents to know how to care for our child’s oral hygiene, so we have provided a few pointers on when and how you can clean your baby’s mouth. Check them out below.
When Do You Start Cleaning Your Baby’s Mouth?
As we all know, babies are not born with teeth. You will have to wait some time for them to grow (before inevitably putting the fallen ones under their bed while pretending to be the tooth fairy). They are still being breastfed at this stage, and although they will only be ingesting liquid, it will still leave some residue.
Typically, baby teeth will grow at around six months, but you should start cleaning your newborn’s mouth as soon as they are born. You can do this using softer materials, such as cloth or tongue cleaners (which we will explain more about below).
It is best if you start brushing only after their first teeth come out. That way, it will be safer, and you can avoid accidentally injuring your baby.
The Dangers of Not Cleaning Your Baby’s Mouth
Taking good care of a baby’s oral care can mean the difference between life and death. Cleaning their little mouths eliminate bacteria, fungus, and other harmful elements that could harm your child.
Keep in mind that a baby’s mouth is a soft organ, so cleaning it could be considered a harmful element in itself without the proper precautions. Always rub the tongue in a circular motion so that you don’t damage soft tissue that bacteria could infect.
The following are some examples of oral health conditions in babies:
Oral Thrush (White Fungus)
Thrush or ‘oral thrush’ is one example of common fungal infections in babies—a condition that results from the buildup of white fungus in the mouth.
You can spot oral thrush by checking your baby’s mouth for white sores on their mouth, cheek, tongue, and gums. If the white patches remain even after you give your child a gentle tongue cleaning, it is time to check for the thrush’s severity. Check under your baby’s tongue and on their cheeks for red spots and bleeding.
Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease
Another common ailment among children is hand, foot, and mouth disease, which can be passed from infected individuals to children, especially our vulnerable babies. Symptoms can include rashes, mouth sores, fever, and flu-like symptoms.
Since mouth sores are one of the most common symptoms, it becomes all the more important that you properly manage your child’s oral care so that you can catch such diseases before they worsen and lead to more complicated issues.
The Benefits of Proper Oral Hygiene for Babies
You don’t have to wait for your baby’s first tooth to take care of their oral hygiene; it is a must. It can make a huge difference in their lives from the beginning and leave them with habits they can take with them until the end.
Teach Your Child Proper Oral Care
As they come of age, your children will discover more and more health-related concerns. Take oral care of the list by teaching them early. That way, they can take their habits into adulthood and look forward to healthy oral health.
They will also become more social as they grow up, so teaching them how to take care of their mouths is imperative; nobody likes bad breath.
Avoid Huge Medical Bills
Managing your child’s oral care allows you to see the situation firsthand. Otherwise, you might have to consult medical professionals right away. Sometimes, even with insurance, professional fees and medicine are heavy on the budget, so we resort to home remedies.
While medical professionals have a stronger case for being the number one authority on prescriptions, it is important to note that there are still ways to remedy your baby’s illnesses personally. Provided you catch them before they turn into anything more serious.
Managing Your Baby’s Oral Hygiene
Taking care of newborns can be challenging, mainly because they are so delicate. You can’t ask them what is wrong, what they are feeling, or what is making them sick without getting more than crying for a response.
In addition, dealing with a newborn baby means taking the utmost care in cleaning their little mouths, a vital factor in their oral health. Here’s one way you can safely clean your baby’s tongue:
Using Gauze or a Damp Cloth
Step 1: Gauze is your best friend. Newborns feeding on breast milk (or any alternative milk formula) are prone to clumps of milk residue building up on their tongue and gums. Leaving too much milk residue could open ways for harmful bacteria and germs to infect the baby’s gums, inner cheeks, and tongue.
To eliminate unwanted milk residue, wrap a piece of gauze around your finger. Use gauze because the material is soft enough to scrub off milk residue from the baby’s tongue without damaging the baby’s mouth. If you are out of gauze, a damp cloth can do.
Step 2: Dip your gauze-covered finger into warm water so that you can gently massage milk residue off the baby’s tongue with ease. Warm water helps make the gauze softer and lessens friction.
Step 3: Once you have moistened your gauze-wrapped finger, gently open the baby’s mouth. Clean your baby’s tongue by rubbing it in a circular motion to eliminate unwanted residue from the baby’s tongue. Don’t forget to softly rub your child’s inner cheeks, too, as well as their gums. Make sure you clean their entire mouth.
This is the ideal way to manage your baby’s oral hygiene in the beginning and without baby tongue cleaners.
Using a Baby Tongue Cleaner or Finger Brush
Using a baby tongue cleaner or finger brush works the same way as a toothbrush, only a little gentler, and instead of teeth, you will be using it on a baby’s tongue. Gently massage the baby tongue cleaner across the baby’s tongue and gums as well as the inside cheeks.
Tongue cleaning for newborns can be hard. Baby mouths are very delicate, so be sure you have enough hand coordination to avoid bruising or injuring the child’s mouth.
Why Should You Use a Tongue Cleaner for Babies?
Using a damp gauze pad to clean your baby’s tongue and mouth is a proven way to help lessen and even eliminate bacteria, but did you know that there are other means of taking care of your baby’s oral hygiene? If you’re looking on how to clean a baby’s tongue, a baby tongue cleaner could be a good place to start. Here are some ways a baby tongue cleaner could help you:
Cleaning your child’s mouth with a gauze-wrapped finger can be a mess. Instead, using a tongue cleaner, you will scrap the gunk off your child’s mouth with less hassle. Tongue cleaners keep your hands free from your baby’s mouth and all the germs and bacteria that could come with it.
Baby tongue cleaners are, as the name states, made for babies, meaning you’ll be using a product engineered to be the most effective at removing bacteria and buildup from your baby’s mouth. Use baby tongue cleaners to clean the most off your child’s mouth.
Tested by Healthcare Professionals and Babies Alike
Before products such as baby tongue cleaners are sent out for purchase, healthcare professionals and babies have to give them a spin. Defective designs are usually sent back for revisions, so it’s safe to say that the baby tongue cleaner you just bought has passed the beta. Rest assured, your baby tongue cleaner will keep your baby’s mouth free from gunk.
Ashtonbee’s Tongue Cleaner for Babies
For your baby’s early dental care, we highly recommend checking out our newborn Tongue Cleaner! Our Tongue Cleaners are highly durable, non-toxic, and FDA-approved, making them the best choice for your baby.
At Ashtonbee, we like to think we take care of your little ones with you. Our arsenal of baby accessories is the best at keeping your baby safe and away from harmful elements like life-threatening bacteria and germs.