Tongue Thrust

The most common orofacial myology disorder is Tongue Thrust. It is diagnosed in children, adolescents, and adults. Tongue thrust is a behavior, not a born with syndrome.

It is the habit of placing or “thrusting” the tongue against the teeth or between the upper and lower front teeth when swallowing or speaking. It is a swallowing pattern that is normal in infancy, but not normal if it has been retained into childhood and beyond. The type of occlusion or bite a person has can be directly proportional to tongue behavior. 98% of the population with open bites are typically tongue thrusters.

Tongue thrust signs and symptoms include, but are not limited to;

  • Tongue resting posture is forward and or against the front or back teeth
  • Lips often rest apart
  • Tongue visibly moves forward when speaking or chewing
  • Tongue protrudes from the mouth to meet cup or utensils
  • Lips squeeze and chin tightens during swallowing
  • Excessive liquid is needed to swallow food
  • Noisy chewing and smacking while eating

Tongue thrusting can develop from a number of potential causes,

  • Thumb or finger sucking
  • Prolonged Pacifier use
  • Allergies, nasal congestion or obstructions leading to mouth-breathing
  • Large tonsils, adenoids, or frequent sore throats causing swallowing difficulty
  • Short lingual frenum (tongue-tied)
  • Neurological, muscular, or other physiological abnormalities
  • Hereditary factors within the family

Tennessee Orofacial Myology provides an intense, multi-level therapy program to aid in the correction of tongue thrusters of all ages. Our goal is to develop an awareness of the problem, reshape and tone appropriate muscles, develop normal neuromuscular functions and patterns, and establish a routine to achieve habituation of the new patterns.

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