5 Signs of Infection In Your Baby's Tongue & Mouth, That Need Immediate Attention!
6 mins read
Health & Safety for New Born, Baby
Your baby’s little mouth and pink tongue look so cute, especially when he tries to make faces at you and moves his tongue about! However, it is often these two body parts that get affected first in case of a bacterial or viral infection. An infected mouth or tongue can make it difficult for your baby to eat, sleep, and also make him extremely irritable.
Paediatricians always advise parents to observe their baby’s mouth and tongue carefully, especially after/during feeding. The reason behind this is that we can get early warning of a health problem or possible infection by observing if the baby’s oral region is normal.
5 Mouth Infections in Babies that Need Immediate Attention
The following five symptoms in your baby’s mouth and tongue signal that he is suffering from an infection. If you spot any of these signs, please take the required action immediately.
1.Thrush in Babies
If you spot a milky white coating on tongue, lips & sides of mouth and your baby seems crankier than usual, then it's a sign of thrush in babies. These signs can be very easy to overlook and often confused with remains of milk on the tongue and lips.
Thrush is caused by a type of fungus called Candida albicans, or commonly known as yeast. It can be caused due to the consumption of certain antibiotics either by the baby or by the mother (if you are nursing). Sometimes, it can even get transferred to the baby during birth. Another common cause of thrush is an unhygienic bottle or nipple used for feeding.
Thrush is easily treatable with antifungal medicines. Please consult your paediatrician and do not use any over-the-counter medicine without discussing with him first. Also ensure adequate hygiene while feeding the baby. Sometimes, despite our best care, babies develop thrush simply because their immunity is very low at this age. Make sure you sterilize feeding bottles properly before letting your baby feed, and also instruct family members to do this.
Your baby’s tongue seems swollen – a condition called angioedema. The region under his tongue may also appear to be inflamed. The most common reason behind this problem is allergy.
An allergic reaction can trigger swelling in the tongue and beneath the surface of the tongue. This can be caused by food allergies, an insect bite, or exposure to dust and pollen. If your child has a history of allergies, or if you have a family medical history of allergic reactions, any of the usual triggers can also lead to this.
If your child does not display any other serious symptoms like difficulty in breathing, it is possible that a swollen tongue is due to a mild allergic reaction. However, to avoid it from recurring, it is very important to diagnose the exact cause. Please consult the paediatrician to discuss the situation and see if your child needs targeted treatment/prevention for the allergy.
3.Hand, Food & Mouth Disease
If your baby has developed blisters in the mouth, as well as on his hands and feet, it can be a sign of hand, food & mouth disease.The blisters resemble small, red dots that grow into bumps. This may be accompanied with mild fever, and your child may find it difficult to eat.
This condition is usually the result of a viral infection and is very common in the summer season. It can spread to your child from contaminated surfaces such as clothes, the floor, or toys.
It is best to consult the doctor and see if the infection is severe enough to require medication. In many cases, the condition subsides on its own with time. You only have to make sure the child is hydrated. You will need to give him mashed foods and easy to swallow semi-solid food at this time, and stay away from spicy or acidic foods.
Your baby’s tongue seems to be coloured abnormally, unlike the usual pink. It may have turned blue, purple, or bright red. This can be a sign of various infections, and also indicate an extremely serious problem, lack of oxygen or– Cyanosis.
Normally, healthy babies have pink tongues. However, certain infections and conditions can lead to discolouration in the tongue and produce abnormal colours.
Bright-red tongue: can indicate scarlet fever
Purple-tongue: can indicate nutritional deficiencies
Blue-tongue: can indicate cyanosis, or that your baby is not getting enough oxygen. It results in his lips, the mucus membranes in their mouth, and/or his tongue turning blue
If your baby’s tongue is turning blue or purple, please call an ambulance immediately and take your baby to the hospital. This is a serious condition that needs immediate medical attention. If you suspect any other discoloration in the tongue, even then it is recommended to consult your doctor to diagnose the exact cause.
If your baby has little round white sores inside the mouth, or in the gum lining, it can be case of mouth ulcers. Your baby may show dislike for food and be unwilling to eat or drink anything. He may also be in pain and extreme discomfort.
Mouth ulcers can happen for a number of reasons, including bacterial and viral infection. They could also be an indicator that your baby is suffering from high body heat or a food allergy. He may also have a deficiency of Vitamin B, iron or zinc. In case he is teething, he may have injured himself by biting the insides of his cheeks, which led to an ulcer.
If you see signs of a mouth ulcer in your baby, make sure he gets enough hydration and consumes cooling foods such as coconut water and watermelon (provided your baby is 6 months +. If he is younger, your breastmilk is the best source of hydration). Apply a paste of honey and turmeric to the affected area. This paste has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antibacterial properties that will speed up the healing. If the ulcers don’t subside within a few days, or if your baby is in severe pain, please consult the paediatrician.
WATCH: Ways to Keep Your Baby’s Mouth Clean
Key Takeaway: Your little one will soon grow up to have a beautiful set of pearl white teeth. Even though that is months away, there are a few things that can be used to clean your baby’s mouth and teeth at an early age. These habits will maintain your child’s oral health now and in the future.
Use a soft towel to clean your baby’s teeth and gums.
Terry cloth finger cots fit over the fingers and are specially used for germ-free oral treatment of you baby.
An oral massager or toothbrush made of rubber that fits on your finger can be used for to clean your baby’s teeth.
Wash your hands thoroughly before touching you baby’s teeth or gums.
Your baby’s mouth and tongue can give you sound warning of a potential health problem. Make sure you spot these signs in time so you can save your baby from pain, discomfort and a longer recovery period.