How to Clean Newborn Tongue - pvpd

6 Easy Steps Guide for Cleaning a Newborn’s Tongue

Newborns don’t consume solid foods, making parents think their babies do not need any oral cleaning.

But, it is not true. The milk babies are feeding is constantly putting them at risk of developing microbial growth.

One out of every seven newborn babies suffers from oral thrush, which is a common fungal infection.

The majority of these suffering babies are under three months and face this issue due to the negligence of their parents.

To avoid such infections, tongue cleaning is necessary for newborns. Here’s a complete guide to help you learn how to clean your newborn’s tongue effectively!

6 Steps to Clean Newborn Tongue

Cleaning a newborn tongue is simple and includes the following steps: 

1- Wash Your Hands

Ensure your hands are free of germs. You have to use your finger for cleansing, which can be a source of germ transfer.

Before starting cleaning, wash your hands thoroughly with soap. It is preferable to use warm water for washing hands because it can efficiently kill bacteria. 

2- Choose a Washcloth or Soft Guaze

Take a piece of washcloth or a soft gauze. This piece must be clean enough to use inside the baby’s mouth.

If you choose some abrasive cloth, it can scratch out the mouth’s surfaces. So, be conscious while selecting a cleaning cloth; it must be soft and smooth.

3- Dip In Warm Water

Use warm water and dip the selected cloth in it. Later, you must put this cloth in the baby’s mouth to ensure it’s not too hot.

Otherwise, it can burn the mouth’s linings.

4- Position Properly

Find out a stable place to sit. Position your newborn in your lap. You can also use a changing table or any other soft and plain surface.

Ensure your baby’s head is well-supported, either with your arm or a pillow.

5- Start Cleansing

Open the newborn’s mouth once you settle comfortably in your position. Use your selected cloth and start cleaning the tongue.

Start from the back of the tongue and move forward gently.

After repeating in this direction, you can also clean the tongue by moving the cloth in circular motions.

Don’t rush while cleaning, and avoid forcefully moving the cloth. Otherwise, it can irritate the tongue’s surface, and even bleeding can occur.

6- Repeat The Steps

Wash the cloth and repeat the whole process. Repeat it until the tongue becomes completely free of germs or microbes.

Once done with it, use a dry, soft cloth to remove the unwanted moisture in the baby’s mouth.

Benefits Of Cleaning Newborn’s Tongue

One of its prominent benefits is preventing the growth and spread of infectious microorganisms.

Yet, some reasons that make tongue cleaning unignorable for babies are given below:

  • Newborns are on the way to developing teeth and gums. As you all know, the majority of children face teeth-related problems. Ensuring oral hygiene from the early stage will help develop healthy teeth and prevent related disorders.
  • The habit of cleaning their tongues at an early age also encourages them to be conscious of maintaining good oral hygiene in the future. 

You will not always worry about their brushing routine and will find your children aware of the importance of oral hygiene.

  • Fungal growth or oral thrush puts the baby’s tongue, cheeks, palate, and gums at risk of developing problems.

Tongue cleaning eliminates the risk of fungal infections, making babies happy and healthy. 

Why Is There a Need to Clean the Tongue of a Newborn?

Just like adults, newborns risk developing oral infections if hygiene is improperly maintained.

If the baby’s tongue is not cleaned, the milk residue can promote the growth of infectious bacteria.

Besides bacteria, they can also develop oral thrush due to fungal growth. So, to prevent the spread of bacteria and fungi, parents should pay proper attention to the newborn’s oral hygiene.

Can You Use Glycerine To Clean Newborns’ Tongues?

Although glycerin is non-toxic, cleaning a newborn baby’s tongue is unnecessary.

Glycerin is present in toothpaste as a thickening and cleaning agent. At six months, babies can rely on small amounts of pastes, thus using glycerine as a component.

After six months, you can use glycerin directly to clean the baby’s tongue. It can be effective in removing microbes and keeping the mouth fresh.

But make sure to remove all the glycerin droplets from the baby’s mouth after using it.

Why Does Your Baby’s Tongue Appear White?

You must have noticed that the tongue of your milk-feeding baby often appears white.

It is because of the regular milk intake, particularly synthetic milk formulas. It leads to the formation of the white coating on the tongue’s surface.

This coating imposes a high risk of infections in the baby’s mouth. This is because newborns produce a small amount of saliva, insufficient to remove all harmful microorganisms.

Removal of these milk residues is crucial to ensure a healthy oral environment.


Newborn tongue cleaning is crucial for ensuring healthy oral hygiene. Parents should never consider it unnecessary, as it is the best way of preventing microbial growth in the baby’s mouth.

You don’t need to buy any special equipment for tongue cleaning. Just take a soft piece of cloth and use it for effective cleansing.

Avoid using glycerine or toothpaste until your baby is six months old.

Read: How to Cure Gum Disease Without a Dentist 


When can I start cleaning my newborn tongue?

You can start cleaning the newborn tongue in the first few weeks of birth. But, use only clean cloth and warm water for cleaning at this age.

After six months of birth, you can start using toothpastes and glycerines, but still in small amounts. 

Do newborns need to brush their tongues?

No, newborns do not need to brush their tongues. Using a soft cloth or gauze is enough to ensure oral hygiene.

Brushing can be abrasive for soft tongue tissues and can cause damage, even bleeding. However, you can use a soft brush when your baby is six months old.

What happens if you don’t clean your newborn tongue?

You will put your newborn at the risk of developing bacteria and infections if you avoid cleaning his tongue.

Oral thrush is a prominent problem among babies due to poor oral hygiene. It will also disrupt the normal development of teeth.

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