Are You Tongue-Tied?

Ruby has been running a high fever for the past three days so I took her in to see the Doctor. Today I saw Hope and she had a student with her.

Hope asked about Ruby’s metopic ridge, tongue tie, and how craniosacrial therapy went. I raved about how awesome Tim Reep is and how he fixed her palate without even reaching inside Ruby’s mouth.

The student was shocked and amazed about this mystical thing called CranioSacrial Therapy. Both Hope and I reassured her that it is legit. I admitted that I was skeptical at first as she was, but Tim Reep made me a believer.

Anyway, the conversation progressed to Ruby’s tongue tie and palate. The student asked what a tongue-tie was. I have a posterior one, so I opened my mouth and showed her mine. She showed me her tongue back and said, “doesn’t everyone have that?”

She had a tongue tie too. I didn’t tell her because I didn’t know how she would recieve it. But it got me thinking….

…. Just how common is tongue-tie? It is mis-diagnosed so frequently. It’s  not like it’s socially exceptable to walk around and look at the underside of random people’s tongues. So we all asume that the frenulum under our own tongue is normal.

I wonder how many providers have a tongue tie and don’t know it so they miss babies’ tongue ties, thinking it’s normal? Thus I’m writing this post.

Below is a picture of a NORMAL ( not common…. just because something may be common, doesn’t mean it’s normal) adult tongue. If you’re tongue doesn’t look like this, there’s a good chance that you’re tongue-tied and don’t even know it.

Normal Adult Frenulum

Normal Adult Lingual Frenulum

Still don’t believe me? Try this:

Place the tip of your tongue on the ridge behind your upper front teeth, you should be able to open your lower jaw and stretch the lingual frenula 1 to 1 1/2 inches. If there is restriction, the jaw will be unable to open fully while your tongue is still touching the ridge behind your teeth.

If the process of opening your jaw all the way requires that you stop touching the ridge behind the upper teeth with your tongue, your movement is restricted due to a tongue-tie.

Did you need braces as a child? Have TMJ? Have to purposefully think to breathe out of your nose?There’s a stonge possiblity it’s because due to the restriction of a tongue-tie. Read this:

“The resting tongue posture refers to how the tongue sits when not being used for talking, eating, drinking, smiling, yawning or coughing.

The tongue is meant to support the palate (the roof of your mouth). In the correct posture, the tip of the tongue touches the ridge behind the upper front teeth but not the teeth themselves. The rest of it is arched across the top of the mouth, in contact with the palate and contained within the teeth. When tongue forces spread across the occlusal surfaces of the teeth (their biting surfaces), the tongue will often exhibit a ridge of irritated tissue along the sides. If the tongue is pushing into the teeth, laterally, scalloping edges will be apparent along the sides.

There are many variations of incorrect tongue posture, but all cause stress within the orofacial mechanism. Just as strong, consistent winds compel trees on a bluff to grow at a distinct angle, the consistent pressures from the tongue set against the teeth may play a role in causing conditions such as an open dental bite, gum disease and bone loss, jaw joint breakdown and TMD, recurrent headaches and upper body tension, speech problems, drooling and an altered facial appearance.

Every day, each of us swallows hundreds and hundreds of times – and this isn’t even counting the swallows we take when we eat, drink or are anxious. Each exerts a small amount of pressure. By design, this pressure should be spread evenly over the palate and contained within the palatal arch. In a dysfunctional swallow, there may be inappropriate pressures exerted against or between the teeth.

non-restrictive lingual frenulum (meaning no tongue-tie is present) is needed to have a proper resting tongue posture and swallowing pattern, sufficient tongue movement for speech and to prevent undue pressure against the dentition. A restrictive frenulum (tongue-tie) may cause concern and often requires surgery. If the maxillary and mandibular labial frenula (upper and lower lip frenulum) are restrictive, stripping of the periodontal tissue or spacing between the upper anterior teeth is possible. You might also see a shortening of the upper lip or creasing of the lower lip.”

The above information is from a Orofacial Myologist website. I added the information contained within the parentheses to clarify the medical terminology.

I’m writing this post with the purpose of raising awareness for tongue-ties. The information listed above are only a few propblems caused by tongue-tie. I haven’t even gotten into the digestion problems.

Are you tongue-tied? Just because something may be common, doesn’t make it normal. Maybe you are missing tongue-ties in babies because you are tongue-tied as well. Something to think about.

P.S. To the nurse student that I met today, I hope you are not offended that I posted about you. You inspired me to do more to raise awareness of this major problem from which so many of our children are suffering. Let’s do something about it!


2 responses

  1. Dear Sir,
    I am 42 years of age. my mother has shared that I had tongue-tie. I have no significant speech problem. However, now I realized that I cannot lift my tongue, and I become sensitized to my speech. How can I find out that my problem is genuine, and I may need its solution. I live in Pakistan.

    • You will have to do some research to find out who clips tongue ties in your area. If there aren’t any, you may need to travel to have it done. There is a really good doctor in Albany, NY in the USA that I’m sure can help you. His name is Dr. Larry Kotlow. Warm wishes to you and your family. God bless.

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