How To Clean The Newborn’s Tongue And Avoid Mouth Thrush

by Suditsha Sanyal

There are a few reasons why babies might have a white tongue, but mouth thrush is one of the most common reasons, and here is what you must know to ease a newborn discomfort

Hurray! It’s the time to rejoice because finally after waiting for 9 months your tiny little world has arrived but at the same time, you might be feeling a little bit tensed as you’re a novice in motherhood. Well, at least I felt the same way. I am a  paranoid and a skeptical mother and very choosy when it comes to my baby, though relatives and friends often mock at me or even ridicule me, that doesn’t deter me. Personally, I don’t think there is anything wrong with it. It’s a part of my innate protective motherly instinct,  in some it is less and some more. And that‘s the part of the ballgame right?Newborns Tongue And Avoid Mouth Thrush 01

Now coming to the topic – Ohh! this topic transported me to the time when my baby was hardly a month old.

I remember I was very perturbed at that time with various suggestions and advice shot from every direction regarding how to clean the newborn’s tongue and avoid mouth thrush and I got so confused. One family member insisted on using honey and water to clean my baby’s mouth. I didn’t quite adhere to her advice (thank god for that!) and finally ended up asking this straight away to my baby’s pediatrician.

The pediatrician at once negated the idea of using honey and water for cleaning the mouth. Furthermore, he said that though in India this is an age-old practice this has a lot of side effects. Honey contains a bacteria named Clostridium which can cause infant botulism. Therefore doctors do not recommend the use of honey to babies lesser than 1-year-old. He said cleaning the newborn’s tongue is simple:

1. Just take a clean cotton cloth or gauze and wrap it around the finger then dip the finger in water, now insert the finger inside the baby’s mouth and in a circular motion clean the upper and the lower portion of the mouth

2. There is also an infant’s tongue cleaner, made up of silicone with a slightly raised bump on the surface, easily available in the market

3. While cleaning the mouth make sure that you clean the gums and insides of the cheeks, and most importantly keep the baby entertained when you carry out the procedure.

The second question that I asked was about the mouth thrush and how to avoid it:

To this, the doctor explained that mouth thrush is a very common oral infection and a harmless one, yes it is true that it can cause discomfort and irritation to your little one.

  • Mouth thrush appears as cracked skin around the corner of the mouth with white patches on tongue, lips or inside the cheek and somewhat looks like cottage cheese or curd
  • Mouth thrush is not contagious but it can pass on from a breastfeeding mother to her baby and vice – versa
  • If the symptoms cause a lot of pain and cause hindrance in breastfeeding then treatment should be availed
  • Antifungal gel both for babies and mothers are available which can be applied to baby’s mouth and mom’s nipples
  • Mouth thrush can be avoided irrespective of breastfed or formula-fed
  • If your baby is formula feed make sure that you sterilize the bottle after every use, the pacifiers need to be sterilized too and that basic hygiene needed to be maintained. Clean the baby’s teeth with a baby toothbrush regularly
  • Simultaneously, mothers are advised to wash their nipples with hot water and dry properly
  • Use bras and nursing pads of breathable fabrics, wash the nursing pads, bras and baby clothes in hot water and dry it in bright sunlight so that germs if any get killed
  • Usage of probiotic-rich food in the mother’s diet and immune-boosting diet for baby is highly recommended
  • You can also give some water to your baby if he/she is above 6 months after every feed to rinse the leftover milk.

 

 

Disclaimer: Please consult the pediatrician immediately if there might be some underlying reasons like your baby is 4 months or below and has an oral thrush accompanied with fever or if the oral thrush is a constant phenomenon and keeps on recurring and also if your baby is above 9 months and still as oral thrush.

 

 

 

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