Is There a Solution for Tongue Thrusting?

Is There a Solution for Tongue Thrusting?

Tongue thrusting is a swallowing pattern that happens when your tongue presses against your front teeth instead of the roof of your mouth. It’s a natural reflex in infants, and most children typically outgrow it by the age of six.

However, it can persist into adolescence and even adulthood for some — and while it might sound harmless, it can lead to significant dental issues. The good news is that there are solutions for tongue thrusting.

Walied Touni, DDS, MSD, and our team at Touni Orthodontics in Sunnyvale, California, specialize in bite misalignments and children’s orthodontics. So, if you've noticed your child pushing their tongue against their teeth when swallowing or speaking, it's time to learn more.

Understanding tongue thrusting (and the risks of ignoring it)

Tongue thrusting is a reflexive swallowing pattern that starts in infancy. It happens when a baby presses their tongue forward against their front gums or teeth instead of against the roof of their mouth.

As most children get older, their swallowing patterns mature and they naturally start pressing their tongue against the roof of their mouth when swallowing, talking, or at rest. However, some children continue tongue thrusting, which can cause a range of dental problems like bite misalignments and crooked teeth.

And left untreated, tongue thrusting can contribute to more than just dental issues. It can also cause speech impediments, difficulty chewing, and even temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders in severe cases. 

Recognizing signs of tongue thrusting

As a parent, it's important to recognize the signs of tongue thrusting early on, so you can have your child evaluated by an orthodontist. Watch out for indicators like: 

These signs might seem innocuous at first, but they could signify an underlying issue that warrants attention.

Solutions for tongue-thrusting

Addressing tongue thrusting isn't just about giving your child a picture-perfect smile; it’s about promoting their overall oral health and well-being. And children's orthodontics can help you do just that.

Dr. Touni is a board-certified orthodontist, and he specializes in correcting dental issues in young patients. We work with parents and their children to develop tailored solutions that tackle tongue thrusting and its associated complications.

One common treatment involves using oral appliances, like a tongue crib or tongue spur. These devices are designed to retrain your child’s tongue to rest properly in their mouth, away from their front teeth. They help guide your child’s tongue into its correct position over time and break the habit of tongue thrusting.

Depending on your child’s needs, Dr. Touni might also recommend orthodontic treatment to correct any dental misalignments or malocclusions caused by persistent tongue thrusting. Braces, aligners, or other orthodontic interventions can gradually shift your child’s teeth into their ideal positions, closing gaps and realigning their bite for improved function and aesthetics.

Are you worried about your child’s tongue thrusting? Seeking early intervention through children's orthodontics helps them avoid potential complications, and it sets them up for a lifetime of healthy smiles.

Learn more about solutions for tongue thrusting with a consultation at Touni Orthodontics. Call our office today or book online at any time.

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