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A tongue thrust occurs when there is a low, forward position of the tongue during rest and when the tongue pushes against or between the teeth during speech and swallowing. Tongue thrust is also sometimes called an orofacial myofunctional disorder (OMD) as it is often accompanied by inappropriate function of the muscles of the mouth and face.
Some of the factors that may contribute to tongue thrusting include:
- prolonged thumb or finger sucking, or extended pacifier use
- upper airway obstruction due to large tonsils/adenoids, allergies or nasal obstruction
- retention of an infantile swallowing pattern
- poor muscle control or low tone
If tongue thrust is left untreated, the abnormal pressure of the tongue against the teeth can interfere with dental development and can affect the fit of the teeth, resulting in a type of bite problem called “open bite”. The good news is that our orthodontic team at Beach Braces in Scarborough can help!
Tongue thrust can be corrected through the use of myofunctional therapy and speech therapy, which involves the use of exercises to re-train the position of the tongue, lips and jaws during speech, swallowing, and at rest. Orthodontic appliances can also sometimes be used, but myofunctional therapy is often preferred.
Tongue thrust is a treatable condition and should be addressed as early as possible. The longer the habit is allowed to continue the harder it is to un-learn, and arguably the bigger its effect on the dentition and bite. Contact our orthodontic team at Beach Braces to learn more about treatment options for your child!
– The Beach Braces Team