Tongue Thrusting

Tongue Thrusting

Tongue thrusting (also sometimes called immature swallow or reverse swallowing) is an orofacial muscular imbalance. It causes the tongue to protrude through the anterior incisors during swallowing, speech, and sometimes when the tongue is at rest. If left unaddressed, it can cause serious orthodontic problems.

Tongue thrusting is normal in babies until about 6 months of age. By this point, most babies grow out of it, and it is considered an indicator that they’re ready to start eating baby food.

If tongue thrusting carries on beyond the age of 4, however it may cause serious orthodontic problems. This is one of the reasons that it's important that children are evaluated by an orthodontist at an early age.

People swallow about 1,200 - 2,000 times per day, and each time it places about 4 pounds of pressure on the inside of the mouth. When combined with tongue thrusting, this pressure can force the teeth out of alignment.

People who tongue thrust can suffer from a variety of orthodontic problems. In fact, if tongue thrusting is a problem that is not addressed as part of orthodontic treatment, it can even cause dental and orthodontic issues to relapse afterwards.

Tongue Thrust Treatment

Tongue thrust is treatable in a couple of different ways. A dental appliance or night guard can be used to create a physical barrier that makes tongue thrusting uncomfortable and difficult for the patient, thereby disrupting the thrust and retraining the tongue to behave as it should.

Alternatively, the patient can choose to undergo orofacial myofunctional therapy. This therapy is designed to re-train the muscles associated with swallowing by changing the swallowing pattern.

If you or your child are suffering from tongue thrusting, or if you have orthodontic problems as a result of it, contact our team at Ridge Meadows Orthodontics today for an orthodontic evaluation.

Book your first orthodontic consultation today at myOrthodontist Maple Ridge.