Tongue thrusting & its effects on your dental health

Tongue thrusting maybe a normal habit for kids. However, this habit should not be encouraged as they grow older. As parents, it is very important that you hamper this habit as early as possible.

What is tongue thrusting?

Tongue thrust, also known as a reverse swallow, is a habit of pushing the tongue towards the lower and upper teeth when we swallow. Most cases, babies, and toddlers often do this when they are feeding on their bottles or when they are thumb-sucking. Because of this, children will carry this habit as they grow older when they are not corrected properly by an adult.

Effects of Tongue Thrusting

Malocclusion
One of the major effects of tongue thrusting is malocclusion. It causes the lower or upper jaw to protrude. Because of this, the child develops an open bite which can cause dental problems in the future like bruxism, gum recession, and enamel wear due to constant teeth grinding and clenching at night.

Speech impediment
Tongue thrusting can also cause a speech impediment. Because of the wrong swallowing pattern, it can cause problems on how to enunciate some of the words.

TMJ disorder
Because of the uneven bite, tongue thrusting can also cause Temporomandibular joint problems. It can cause severe pain along the head, jaw, and ear area. It can also cause nasal allergies and breathing problems due to the open bite. The most orthodontist would try to close an open bite. However, it often leads to the re-opening of the bite due to tongue thrusting. The tongue would try adding pressure on the orthodontic wires behind the teeth.

Tongue thrusting should not be encouraged nor neglected. It is very important that you stop the habit as soon as you see your kids doing it. If in the case wherein tongue thrusting has become a consistent habit already, just slowly introduce some alternative methods and withdraw from it step by step.