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Maintaining baby’s health and hygiene, also include emphasizing on their oral health.
Tongue should be cleaned on regular basis to ensure the risk of infections caused by fungus, bacteria or germs is reduced.
Although, a lot of tongue related issues in newborns, especially mouth thrush are very common.
Newborn babies are particularly at an increased risk of oral thrush because their immune system is not developed completely and so the resistance to fight infections is low.
In pre-schoolers and school going kids, tongue cleaning is an unavoidable process.
They tend to eat a lot of sweet food items, such as candies, chocolates, etc.
Hence, it is necessary to remove food particles from the tongue.
Tongue cleaning should be practiced atleast once or twice a day accompanied with flossing and brushing to prevent bacterial accumulation.
I usually stick to home remedies for my little one.
And, so even for tongue cleaning, I prefer simple and basic cleaning technique.
I am sharing 3 ways in which you can clean milk or just about anything from your newborn’s tongue.
Even with an infant or a toddler who doesn’t really know how to rinse their mouth, these tongue cleaning methods can be quite useful.
What is mouth thrush?
Oral mouth thrush is a fungal infection (yeast fungus called Candida albicans which also causes diaper rash) in the mouth that is particularly common in new born babies, infants and toddlers.
It is usually harmless and easily treatable.
According to National Health Services, UK, 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. mouth thrush in babies
How do you get to know that your little one has oral thrush?
Well, if you see white coating on your baby’s tongue, and white patches elsewhere in the mouth which looks like a stain left behind after having curd or cottage cheese and usually cannot be rubbed off gently, and your baby is not wanting to be fed (because their mouth is sore), then it is more likely to be a mouth thrush.
Oral thrush is also very common in babies who have recently been treated with antibiotics which tend to reduce the levels of healthy bacteria in the baby’s mouth.
This gets them exposed to having high fungal levels on the tongue.
What causes mouth thrush in babies?
A small amount of the Candida fungus lives in the mouth most of the time.
It is usually kept in check by the immune system and other types of germs that also normally live in the mouth.
However, when the immune system is weaker, the fungus can grow, leading to sores and lesions in the mouth and on the tongue.
Oral thrush may occur in babies because their immune systems have not yet matured.
They are less able to resist infection.
An oral thrush infection can happen after treatment with antibiotics, because antibiotics reduce the levels of healthy bacteria in the mouth.
This allows fungus to proliferate.
What are the Symptoms of mouth thrush?
Symptoms can appear suddenly.
They may include:
White patches on the roof of the mouth, inside the cheeks, and on the tongue.
Under the white lesions, there may be red tissue that bleeds easily.
There may be redness around the patches.
The patches may be painful.
The corners of the mouth may crack.
Patches of white that look like milk, but they cannot be wiped away.
Without treatment, the lesions can slowly increase in number and size. Even with treatment, they can be hard to get rid of.
Many infants are not bothered by thrush, but they may be irritable, especially when feeding, if the mouth is sore.
How to Treatment mouth thrush in babies
Oral thrush in infants often disappears within 2 weeks, and parents or caregivers may be advised to monitor the infection, without using medication.
Sometimes, a doctor will prescribe drops or a gel that must be spread around the inside of the mouth, not just put on the tongue.
If the infant is breastfeeding, the mother’s nipples may need to be treated at the same time, to prevent the infection passing back and forth.
Since oral thrush may affect feedings, the pediatrician should be notified if symptoms persist.
Depending on the age of the infant, a doctor may suggest adding lactobacilli to the diet, in the form of yogurt.
The lactobacilli are thought to provide “good” bacteria that may help get rid of the fungus.
Supplements suitable for infants are available to purchase online.
Other remedies, such as grapefruit seed extract, coconut oil, gentian violet, tea tree oil, and baking soda have been suggested for treating oral thrush in infants.
However, grapefruit seed extract, for example, has been found to contain additional substances that may not be safe, even in adults.
It has also not been proven effective for any condition.
Natural remedies still contain chemicals.
It is important to discuss any type of remedy with a doctor before giving it to an infant.