Tongue Thrust Habit
What is tongue thrusting?
A tongue thrust is an abnormal swallowing pattern that occurs when the tongue is placed between the teeth before and during swallowing. There are several different types of tongue thrust habits.
- Between 67 and 95 percent of kids ages 5-8 years old exhibit tongue thrust. This can create problems with speech and orthodontics.
- Did you know that we swallow an average of 2000 times a day? Swallowing can exert 1-6 pounds of pressure against your teeth and jaw.
- One of the issues with tongue thrusting is that is can cause growth distortions of the jaw.
- Tongue thrusting can get in the way of braces effectively positioning teeth.
- A tongue turst can cause teeth to relapse once braces are taken off. This can happen even with “24-7” retainer use.
What causes tongue thrusting?
- Thumb sucking
- Nasal congestion and Allergies
- Enlarged tonsils and/or adenoids
- A large tongue
- Hereditary factors
- Neuromuscular issues
What can you do to stop it?
It is recommended to consult with a speech therapist regarding tongue thrusting. Speech therapists specialize in diagnosing the specific type of thrust that is happening. Then they can prescribe exercises to stop it. Oftentimes, we will recommend appliance therapy, as well as tongue strengthening exercises, which will act as subtle reminders to correctly position the tongue during swallowing.