Tongue tie …problems now and later

by | Mar 16, 2019 | Resources

Why does a tongue tie in a newborn matter?

There is so much out there about tongue (and lip) ties in newborns and how it affects breastfeeding.  We assess the newborns in our care for a tie immediately at birth and we continue to assess the breastfeeding relationship during those first couple weeks to see if an unidentified tie is causing problems. 

Ask your midwife about it and she’ll give you some great info for getting off on the right foot.

New to me, but not a very talented group of local professionals, is how a tongue tie can cause immense problems in older kids and teens, extending even into adulthood, particularly through the resultant mouth breathing, tongue thrusting, and improperly used mouth and facial muscles.  

Basically, the muscles, bones, and teeth of the baby and child do not form correctly after months and years of misuse.  Swallowing can’t happen properly.  Breathing gets done through the mouth, not the nose, which worsens the problems.  Sometimes the tongue tie is the initial problem; sometimes it’s just inadequate breastfeeding so the palate doesn’t form correctly; sometimes another nasal obstruction develops and causes mouth breathing.

All in all it means the child’s brain is under-oxygenated!  Their airway is not open and functioning properly.  Just like an adult with sleep apnea who wakes up groggy with a headache, these kids suffer too.  Their symptoms just look a little different. 

How often might kids be getting in trouble for their behavior when they literally have no control over it?

Common signs and symptoms of tongue tie in children

  • Speech issue: delay and/or lisp
  • Digestive issues: constipation, reflux, and IBS
  • Migraines and Headaches
  • Behavior issues and ADHD like symptoms
  • Enlarged tonsils and adenoids
  • Sleep apnea, snoring or night terrors
  • Bedwetting or issues toilet training
  • Dental and oral health issues: cavities and bad breath
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Sinus or allergy issues
  • High palate
  • Malocclusion or crooked teeth, requiring braces
  • Recessed chin
  • Jaw issue or TMJ, grinding teeth
  • Picky eater: food and texture aversion
  • Choking, vomiting, gagging on foods and liquids
  • Food falling out of mouth, use fingers to move food in mouth, pocketing food in cheeks, and food getting trapped in cheeks.

I am currently working with a new group of local providers, mainly dentists and hygenists, on how to most effectively bring more information and access to treatment to our area.  Contact me if you’re interested in more information or want to participate.