Tongue Thrust in Context
Tongue thrust is a normal response that occurs when anything touches the baby’s mouth during infancy. This response causes the tongue to protrude in order to assist the baby in breastfeeding or bottle-feeding.
As a youngster grows older, his or her swallowing habits alter and the response fades. What happens, though, if tongue thrusting continues until childhood? What kind of issues could a youngster face as a result of this? Continue reading to find out more about tongue thrust, how it affects children, and what you can do to help.
After Infancy, Tongue Thrust
Up until a baby is roughly 4 to 6 months old, tongue thrust is normal. The reflex is vital during this time because if a newborn gets something other than milk in his or her mouth, the tongue can push it out to avoid choking.
An oral myofunctional condition is diagnosed when a child’s tongue push continues after he or she has stopped being a baby. When the tongue, jaw, or lips are in an aberrant position during resting, swallowing, or speaking, it is called an oral myofunctional dysfunction.
Too much pressure on the interior of the teeth without the right amount of pressure on the outside from the lips can cause misalignment of the teeth, which is a concern for dentists and parents.
Misaligned teeth can make chewing difficult, lead to more cavities or gingivitis because teeth are more difficult to keep clean, raise the risk of a tooth breaking, and make you feel self-conscious.
Tongue Thrust Causes
Tongue thrust can be caused by a variety of circumstances. The following are some of the causes of tongue thrust:
Sucking the thumb
Using certain types of pacifiers or bottles, or using either Bruxism for an extended period of time (more commonly known as teeth grinding)
Ankyloglossia is a type of ankyloglossia (more often known as a tongue-tie)
Macroglossia is a type of Macroglossia (an enlarged tongue)
As you can see, some of the causes are genetic, while others are the result of bad habits. Because larger tonsils or nasal congestion make it difficult to breathe, allergies can cause the tongue to sit low inside the mouth.
Because the tongue does not lie in the right position in the mouth, ankyloglossia can induce tongue push. Furthermore, having a larger tongue might cause problems since it prevents the mouth from closing properly when swallowing.
Consult your child’s pediatric dentist to learn what you can do to prevent your child from developing bad behaviors that lead to tongue thrusts.