How to Clean Newborn Tongue

As a new parent, you want to do everything you can to ensure that your newborn is as healthy and happy as possible. However, one thing you may have noticed is that your baby’s tongue has a white film on it.

How to Clean Newborn Tongue

This is normal and not something to be concerned about. However, there are a few steps you can take to safely and effectively clean the tongue. So keep reading to learn more about how to clean newborn tongue.

Can You Clean Newborn Tongue?

Newborns experience difficulty with sucking, which is why it is important to keep their mouths clean. Unfortunately, because of this, many parents are left wondering if they should be cleaning their newborn’s tongue.

The answer is a little more complicated; while it is important to be aware of the risks and consider other alternatives, in some cases, cleaning a newborn’s tongue can help prevent potential issues.

When done correctly, by gently wiping their tongues with gauze dipped in warm water can remove bacteria and reduce the risk of thrush or other infections. As with any decision to raise a newborn, it’s important to consult your pediatrician before trying something new.

Why Should You Clean Newborn Tongue?

Cleaning a newborn’s tongue is an important part of good oral hygiene. Not only does it help keep their mouth clean, but it can also prevent bad breath and even reduce the risk of cavities later in life. Even before teeth emerge, harmful bacteria can begin to accumulate on the baby’s tongue and lead to problems later.

Spot-cleaning your infant’s tongue should be done every day with a soft, damp cloth, as this will not only remove any plaque but will also stimulate the gums that are soon to be covered by incoming teeth.

Spot-cleaning Your Infant's Tongue

Also, cleaning your newborn’s tongue will allow you to bond with them and get them used to caring for their mouth and maintaining good oral health habits early on. All in all, ensuring you clean your newborn’s tongue is essential to providing excellent dental care for your baby!

7 Steps to Follow on How to Clean Newborn Tongue

Step 1. Use a Clean, Damp Cloth.

Before you start cleaning your newborn’s tongue, gathering all the supplies you’ll need is important. First, gather a clean, damp cloth and warm water. Make sure the cloth is clean to avoid any germs that may come in contact with your newborn’s tongue.

Step 2. Open Your Baby’s Mouth Gently.

Once you have everything you need, it’s time to start cleaning your baby’s tongue. First, gently open your baby’s mouth by placing two fingers on either side of their chin, then give a slight push.

This will enable you to access their tongue for cleaning. Be sure not to force the mouth open, as this can be uncomfortable and lead to potential injury. Instead, go slowly and allow your baby time to adjust.

Step 3. Wipe the Tongue from Back to Front.

Once your baby’s mouth is open, use the damp cloth to wipe the tongue from back to front. You want to make sure that the tongue is cleaned in a gentle yet thorough manner.

Use the Damp Cloth to Wipe the Tongue

Make sure to reach all the way back and cover every surface. You may need to use both sides of the cloth to clean all areas effectively. For added protection, you can use a fresh piece of cloth for each wipe.

Step 4. Rinse the Cloth Frequently.

As you’re wiping your baby’s tongue, be sure to rinse the cloth frequently to avoid spreading bacteria around their mouth. Rinse the cloth with warm water and wring it out before continuing. Make sure to rinse until there is no visible residue left on the cloth. This will ensure that your baby’s mouth is clean and bacteria-free.

Step 5. Spit out Any Excess Saliva.

After you’ve wiped your baby’s tongue clean, they may have built up a lot of saliva in their mouth. Help them to spit this out by holding their head upright and gently rubbing their chin. If they cannot do this, you can use a clean washcloth or small tissue to gently dab and absorb the saliva.

Be careful not to rub too hard, as newborns have very delicate skin. In addition, it is important to ensure that all traces of saliva are removed as it may become a breeding ground for bacteria if left in their mouth for too long. Once all traces of saliva have been removed, you can move on to the next step.

Step 6. Give Them a Drink of Water.

Once you’ve cleaned your baby’s tongue and helped them to spit out any excess saliva, give them a drink of water. This will help to rinse away any residual bacteria and keep them hydrated, which can help with swallowing. It’s important to use only distilled or boiled water for this, so make sure you have some on hand!

Give Them a Drink of Water

Step 7. Repeat as Needed.

You should aim to clean your newborn’s tongue after each feeding or at least once per day. If you notice that your baby is starting to develop a white film on their tongue, this may be a sign of thrush, and you should consult with your pediatrician.

That’s it! You’ve now learned how to clean newborn tongue and how to do it in a safe, hygienic way. Ensure that you repeat these steps as needed and always use clean supplies so that your baby’s mouth stays healthy.

Things You Need to Know Before Cleaning Newborn Tongue

Before cleaning the tongue of a newborn baby, it is important for parents to take into consideration some important facts. Firstly, it’s essential to remember that a newborn’s mouth is much more sensitive than ours. Secondly, babies have natural cleaning processes in place already, and excessive cleaning can cause irritation and damage.

Parents should never use any objects, such as cotton swabs, to clean their baby’s tongue since this can result in serious injuries. Instead, to clean a newborn baby’s tongue, parents are advised to use warm water only and soft sponges or cloths while sterilizing them between uses.

Although daily oral care may not be necessary, it is recommended to ensure regular dental check-ups beginning at six months of age, as this will help trace any problems with the teeth as they develop.

5 Benefits of Cleaning Newborn Tongue

1. Reduces the Risk of Infection

One of the primary benefits of cleaning a newborn’s tongue is that it reduces the risk of infection. Newborns are particularly susceptible to infection, as their immune systems are not yet fully developed. Cleaning the tongue can remove bacteria and other organisms that may cause illness.

Cleaning the Tongue Can Remove Bacteria

2. Helps to Prevent Thrush

Thrush is a type of yeast infection that can occur in newborns. It is caused by an overgrowth of the Candida albicans fungus, which is present in the mouth. Thrush can cause white patches to form on the tongue and inside of the cheeks and can lead to discomfort when feeding. Cleaning the tongue can help to prevent thrush from developing.

3. Aids in Digestion

Another benefit of cleaning a newborn’s tongue is that it can aid in digestion. Newborns typically have trouble digesting milk, as their digestive systems are not yet fully developed. Cleaning the tongue can help break down milk proteins and make them easier for your baby to digest.

4. Promotes Oral Health

Cleaning a newborn’s tongue can also promote oral health. It helps remove plaque and other debris from the mouth, reducing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Additionally, it can stimulate saliva production, which can help to keep the mouth clean and healthy.

5. Soothes Teething Pain

Finally, cleaning a newborn’s tongue can help to soothe teething pain. When babies are teething, they often chew on their tongues or gums, irritating them. Cleaning the tongue can help remove any irritants and relieve teething pain.

Help to Soothe Teething Pain

The Best Time to Cleaning Newborn Tongue

The birth of a newborn is an exciting time, but the start of caring for a baby also requires thoughtful care and attention. One important part of parenting a newborn is ensuring their tongue is clean. The best time to clean your baby’s tongue is during or just after bath time, every day or every other day.

Gently wiping down their tongue with gauze, tissue, or cotton swab dampened with warm water helps remove trapped debris and bacteria before they can build up further or cause any kind of infection.

Doing this simple step daily will help maintain a healthy environment in your baby’s mouth from the beginning and ensure that they look forward to each mealtime with gusto!

6 Common Mistakes People Make When Trying to Cleaning Newborn Tongue

1. Not Using a Soft, Wet Cloth

One of the most common mistakes people make when cleaning a newborn tongue is not using a soft, wet cloth. This can actually scratch and damage the delicate tissue of the tongue, which can lead to infection. Therefore, it is important to use a soft, wet cloth that is specifically designed for cleaning newborns.

2. Using Too Much Pressure

Another common mistake people make when trying to clean a newborn tongue is using too much pressure. This can also damage the delicate tissue of the tongue and should be avoided.

3. Not Rinsing the Mouth After Cleaning

Another common mistake people make when cleaning a newborn tongue is not rinsing the mouth after cleaning. This can leave residual soap or other chemicals in the mouth, which can be harmful if swallowed. It is important to rinse the mouth thoroughly with water after cleaning.

Rinsing the Mouth After Cleaning

4. Not Using a Sterile Solution

Another common mistake people make when cleaning a newborn tongue is not using a sterile solution. This can increase the risk of infection, as bacteria can grow in non-sterile solutions. Using a sterile solution such as boiled water or saline solution is important.

5. Using Alcohol-Based Solutions

Another common mistake people make when trying to clean a newborn tongue is using alcohol-based solutions. These solutions can actually cause drying and cracking of the delicate tissue of the tongue, which can lead to infection. It is important to avoid using alcohol-based solutions when cleaning a newborn tongue.

6. Not Seeking Medical Help if There Is Any Sign of Infection

Another common mistake people make when trying to clean a newborn tongue is not seeking medical help if there is any sign of infection. If you notice any redness, swelling, or discharge from the tongue, it is important to seek medical attention, as this could indicate an infection.

It is also important to take any signs of infection seriously and seek medical help as soon as possible.

When Do I Need to Start Cleaning My Baby’s Tongue?

Proper oral hygiene for your baby begins the moment their first tooth appears. To make sure your little one has healthy gums and teeth, it’s important to start cleaning their tongue as soon as you notice any discoloration. Babies tend to slobber and drool a lot, leading to bacteria buildup on the tongue, making it ripe for infections.

Cleaning their tongue with either a moist washcloth or a special tongue scraper will remove the bacteria and prevent any further build-up that could affect their oral health. So when you start noticing discoloring on the tongue or a white coating, it’s time to bring out the cleaning tools!

How Often Should I be Cleaning My Newborn’s Tongue?

Cleaning your newborn’s tongue is important in keeping them healthy and promoting proper oral hygiene habits, but it can also be challenging. Though your baby may not seem to enjoy it, it will benefit from having its tongue cleaned with a soft-bristled toothbrush or pieces of gauze twice daily.

Ideally, you’ll want to get into the habit after your baby’s first feeding in the morning and again at night, before bedtime. Doing so will help reduce their risk of plaque and other bacterial infections that can lead to tooth decay and cavities.

Treating gentle yet effective techniques like those recommended by pediatricians is key to ensuring your newborn stays safe and healthy for years to come.


Cleaning your newborn’s tongue should only take a few minutes each day and can help keep them healthy and free from infection. The most important thing is that whatever method you choose – either brushing or wiping with a washcloth – must be done gently so as not to cause any injury to their delicate mouth area!

If you feel uncomfortable or unsure about what you’re doing at any point during this process, please contact your pediatrician for further advice on how best to care for your newborn’s oral hygiene needs. Thanks for reading our post about how to clean newborn tongue.

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Loren Jones

Hi, my name is Loren. I live with my husband and 4 lovely kiddos in the Eastern part of San-fransisco. I have a smart beautiful,curious 6 year old daughter, a handsome 11-year-old son, an intelligent and tech geek 15 years old son and a creative, artistic 12-year-old stepson. With each of my kids being five years apart, I feel that I’m now continually phasing in and out of each stage of parenting! I’ve learned a lot about the way children learn and behave, especially in a school setting with regards to curriculum. I enjoy sharing that insight through my writing and hope that it can help others.

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