What is tongue thrusting?
Tongue thrusting is a reflexive action and often happens when a person is sleeping. Tongue thrusting is when the tongue protrudes through the teeth during swallowing. This can cause the tongue to push against the front teeth, creating an overbite. Enlarged tonsils or adenoids can also cause it.
Tongue thrusting is a common problem in young children but can also occur in adults. Left untreated can lead to speech problems, difficulty eating, and dental problems.
Causes of tongue thrusting
Tongue thrusting is when the tongue protrudes out of the mouth during rest or while speaking. It can occur due to several reasons. In some cases, it may be due to an underlying medical condition. It can also be a habit developed in childhood and carried into adulthood. Let’s take a look at some of the causes of tongue thrusting.
Allergies are a common cause of tongue thrusting. Allergies can cause the throat to swell, making it difficult to swallow. This can lead to tongue thrusting as the body tries to clear the throat. Allergies can also cause irritability and discomfort, which may lead to tongue thrusting to soothe the throat.
Enlarged adenoids are the most common cause of tongue thrusting in children. Adenoids are a mass of lymph tissue located behind the nose and roof of the mouth (palate). They are an important part of the lymphatic system, which helps fight infection. When adenoids become enlarged, they can block the airway and cause mouth breathing. Mouth breathing can lead to several problems, including tongue thrusting.
In addition to enlarged adenoids, other causes of tongue thrusting include:
-Anatomic abnormalities of the mouth or teeth
-Habitual actions, such as thumb-sucking or nail biting
-Nervous habits, such as teeth grinding (bruxism)
-Psychological factors, such as anxiety or stress
One common cause of tongue thrusting is mouth breathing. Mouth breathing dries out the mouth, which can lead to the tongue’s reflexive action to moisten the lips and oral tissues. This constant moisture can also lead to an overgrowth of bacteria, leading to bad breath. In addition, mouth breathing can cause the tongue to become accustomed to lying forward in the mouth, leading to a tongue-thrusting habit.
Consequences of tongue thrusting
Tongue thrusting is when the tongue protrudes between the teeth during rest and swallowing. It usually occurs in children but can also happen in adults. Tongue thrusting can cause several problems, such as:
Tongue thrusting is when the tongue protrudes through the teeth during rest or swallowing. It can cause various problems, such as difficulty speaking, teeth misalignment, and an inability to close the lips. Treatment typically involves speech therapy and myofunctional therapy exercises to retrain the tongue and mouth muscles.
Impaired dental development
Tongue thrusting is a condition that can cause several problems with your teeth and jaws. If you don’t correct it, tongue thrusting can lead to: -An open bite, where some of your teeth don’t touch when you close your mouth -Crowded teeth -Impaired dental development -Speech problems, such as lisping.
How to stop tongue thrusting
Thrusting your tongue forward when you speak is called tongue thrusting. It’s a common habit in young children but can continue into adulthood. Tongue thrusting can cause problems with the alignment of your teeth and how your jaw closes. It can also make it difficult to speak clearly. There are a few things you can do to stop tongue-thrusting.
Change the behavior
While some kids grow out of tongue thrusting on their own, others need help to change the behavior. The key is to catch it early. If your child is still tongue-thrusting by age 4, they may need help from a speech therapist to learn new habits.
There are a few things you can do at home to help, too:
First, avoid negative comments about your child’s tongue-thrusting. This can increase anxiety and make the problem worse. Instead, praise your child when you see them not tongue-thrusting.
Model good habits
Make sure you’re not tongue-thrusting yourself! Show your child how to swallow correctly by placing your teeth together and using your tongue to push food back and up into your teeth for chewing. Model proper swallowing for liquids, too — don’t slurp! Your child will learn by watching you.
Encourage chewing gum and hard candy.
Chewing gum or hard candy can help strengthen the muscles used for swallowing. Just be sure to check with your dentist first to ensure chewing gum or hard candy is OK for your child’s teeth. Limit sugary snacks and drinks. Minimize sugary snacks and drinks, which can promote tooth decay. Try healthy alternatives like crunchy fruits and veggies, yogurt, whole grain crackers, and cheese.
Use a tongue-thrust appliance
A tongue-thrust appliance is a mouthguard worn to help correct a tongue thrust. The appliance is usually made of plastic and fits over the teeth. It helps to position the tongue correctly in the mouth and prevents it from thrusting forward.
Tongue-thrust appliances are usually only worn at night, as they can be quite uncomfortable during the day. They are typically worn for 6-12 months, after which most people no longer need to use them.