At Mouth Matters, we take tongues seriously! Our tongue plays a vital role in speech, eating, swallowing, digestion as well as influencing growth & development of the jaws.
Tongue tie, otherwise known as Ankyloglossia, affects approximately 4% of the population.
Tongue tie can be defined by an unusually short, inelastic or thickened attachment (via the lingual frenulum) of the tongue to the floor of mouth, which results in a limited range of functional tongue movements.
The impacts of tongue tie are many, including:
• influencing an infant’s ability to breast or bottle feed effectively
• can lead to narrow growth of upper & lower jaws due to the tongue being “anchored”
in the floor of the mouth
• can lead to crooked teeth
• encourages an infantile swallow pattern with tongue thrust, beyond infancy
• impacts oral tactile experience, often leading to “fussy eaters”
• can lead to poor digestion due to limited range of movement in preparing food to
be swallowed. Air tends to be “gulped” down with large, partially chewed
• eating can be messy, and dribbling is often observed
• can negatively impact speech development
• increases the risk of tooth decay, as the tongue is less able to clear food from the teeth
In some instances, lip tie is observed in conjunction with, or in isolation of tongue tie, and can present similar impacts and challenges as listed above. In order to prevent the inevitable negative outcomes associated with lip and/or tongue tie, accurate identification & appropriate referral for treatment is of paramount importance, and can be provided at any age.
Colleen O’Callaghan is pleased to be associated with Dr Tony Eldridge of The Hobart Orofacial Pain & Special Needs Clinic.
Dr Eldridge is a specialist dental practitioner, providing assessment & management of lip and tongue tie for patients of all ages. He has a special interest in treating lip and tongue tie for newborns & infants, assisting with feeding issues that are so often related to these conditions.
For more information, visit www.tmjtreatment.com.au