COVID-19 Office Updates Our office is now OPEN Please call: (805) 317-4999 to schedule an appointment We have set forth guidelines that surpass CDC recommendations to insure sterility and cleanliness. We ask that you wear a mask upon arrival, and keep to the social distancing protocols. Please bear with us as we take these measures for your safety and ours.
Why Do Kids Thrust Their Tongues?
Posted on 9/21/2020 by Jeannie Molato, DDS
Tongue thrust can be a completely normal developmental reflex, commonly seen in infants when nursing or taking a bottle. However, it can also be associated with several different abnormalities in your child. Knowing how and when to look for issues is key in preventing long term difficulties and complications with your child's oral health later.
Normal or Not?
Tongue thrust isn't harmful and has no long term effects as long as the reflex goes away as your child gets older. It's a natural instinct for an infant to extend their tongue when something touches their mouth. This helps them suck from a breast or bottle, but it shouldn't stay there after the feeding is completed. If your baby is older and you are still noticing things like the tongue resting in the wrong position, difficulty chewing food or prolonged sucking, it may be time to give our office a call.
Tongue thrust can also be called reverse swallow or immature swallow and is the common name of orofacial muscular imbalance. This is a behavioral pattern in which your child may stick out his or her tongue when swallowing, when the mouth is at rest or even during speech. Since the average person can swallow up to 2,000 times per day, this constant thrusting can cause malformation of the teeth and cause them to grow out of alignment as they're coming in. This can cause many dental issues later in life, including poor teeth alignment and even a lisp when speaking.
If your infant is over the age of 6 months old and you're still noticing a great deal of tongue thrusting or any of the other abnormalities we've mentioned, please give us a call as soon as possible. We can work together with you to correct this behavioral pattern and check to make sure that nothing more serious is happening in your child's mouth.