Tongue tie is a structural condition. It is caused by a shortened membrane of tissue under the tongue that attaches to the floor of the mouth. The tighter attachment makes the tongue more difficult to move around. In children, tongue tie can cause difficulties such as gagging or choking on foods, delayed speech development and dental issues. Adults can have challenges as well such as inability to open mouth wide, pain in jaws, dental health problems, speech issues, migraine headaches and neck & shoulder tension. Stretches or tongue tie release can alleviate this tension and through an orofacial myofunctional program, proper function can be taught.
Thumb sucking is a habit that sometimes starts before birth. This habit can be unfavorable due to the thumb’s ability to cause low tongue posture. The pressure of the thumb can push the roof of the mouth up, causing it to narrow. It can also push the teeth out and apart and cause the teeth to have an open bite where they are unable to come together. This habit can cause issues with teeth and speech and facial development.
Through an orofacial myofunctional program and positive reinforcement, the thumb sucking habit can be stopped. At times, stopping the habit may be able to shorten the time needed for braces and improve speech articulation.
Tongue thrust is an unconscious behavior pattern. The tongue pushes at the front teeth during speech, swallowing and when resting. This thrusting pattern can contribute to speech or orthodontic issues.
Other additional factors may be allergies and nasal congestion, enlarged tongue, open mouth posture, thumb sucking and tongue tie. Incorrect tongue position can cause airway problems during sleep, dental problems, headaches, orthodontic relapse, posture issues, speech delays and stomach distress from swallowing air.
Through an orofacial myofunctional program and the proper outside referrals, the tongue can be retrained to rest in a proper position.