What is a Tongue Thrust?

Tongue thrust is a myofunctional disorder that occurs when the tongue moves forward in an exaggerated way during speech and/or swallowing.

The tongue may lie to far forward during rest or may protrude between the upper and lower teeth during speech, swallowing and rest.

A person typically swallows between 500-700 or more times during a day with about four pounds of pressure each time.

If a person suffers from a tongue thrust, the continuous pressure tends to force the teeth out of alignment.

Signs and Symptoms of Tongue Thrust

  1. Tongue visible against or between teeth during swallowing and speech or resting
  2. Mouth breathing
  3. Open mouth resting posture and/or inability to close mouth completely
  4. Messy and/or loud eating
  5. Speech impediment
  6. Open bite/ protruding teeth
  7. Relapse of orthodontic treatment

Causes of Tongue Thrust

  1. Prolonged use of bottle/pacifier
  2. Prolonged use of sippy cups
  3. Allergies or nasal congestion
  4. Thumb sucking
  5. Large tonsils
  6. Ankyloglossia (tongue tie)
  7. Habit
  8. Hereditary factor

Tongue Thrusting can have adverse effects on the Teeth and Mouth

If the tongue continues to push against the teeth, it will continue to push the teeth forward and reverse any orthodontic work performed.

Many people with a tongue thrust complete orthodontic treatment with good results, only to have the teeth relapse because the disorder has not been treated.

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