skip over navigation links
Maternal and Child Health Bureau logoA Health Professionals Guide to Pediatric Oral Health Management
HomeModuleModule 1: An Introduction to Infants' and Young Children's Oral HealthModule 2: Managing Infants' and Young Children's Oral HealthModule 3: Oral Conditions and AbnormalitiesModule 4: Prevention of Oral DiseaseModule 5: Non-Nutritive Sucking HabitsModule 6: Oral InjuryModule 7: Infants and Young Children with Special Health Care NeedsContentsGlossaryEvaluationHelp
Module 3: Oral Conditions and Abnormalities
Module Contents
3.1 Recognizing Healthy Teeth, Soft Tissues, and Facial Bones
3.2 Healthy Teeth
3.3 Healthy Soft Tissues
Lips, Tongue, and
Oral Mucosa
(current page)
Frena & Gingiva
Major Salivary Glands
3.4 Healthy Facial Bones
3.5 Tooth Conditions and Abnormalities
Dental Caries
Untreated Tooth Decay
Hypodontia & Anodontia
Amelogenesis Imperfecta
Dentinogenesis Imperfecta
Extrinsic and Intrinsic Enamel Coloration
3.6 Soft Tissue Conditions and Abnormalities
Epithelial Cysts
Congenital Epulis
Natal or Neonatal Teeth
Eruption Cysts
Fibroma & Papilloma
Key Points
Additional Resources

3.3 Healthy Soft Tissues

  photo of healthy teeth
    Fig 3. Healthy Lips and Tongue

    photo of healthy mucosa
    Fig 4. Healthy Mucosa

Lips, Tongue, and Oral Mucosa

The lips, tongue, and oral mucosa (the tissue covering the inside of the cheeks almost to the teeth) are the first soft tissues the health professional will see when performing the oral screening.

The lips and tongue (Figure 3) should be soft, pink, and moist. The oral mucosa (Figure 4) may be pink or brown, depending on the infant’s or child’s skin color. It should be smooth and moist.

watch video Video of a health professional examining healthy lips, tongue and oral mucosa
(requires RealOne Player)

video transcript

previous pagenext page
logo: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau