Tongue Thrust: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
Understand more about tongue thrust and its causes and symptoms. Read this post to learn in depth what causes tongue thrust disorder so you can begin to take the necessary steps to address it.
Tongue thrust, also known as an oral facial myofunctional disorder (OMD), is a condition that results in the forward movement of the tongue during rest, swallowing, and speech. This condition can cause various problems, such as difficulty chewing and swallowing, distorted speech sounds, and misaligned teeth.
Causes of Tongue Thrust
Tongue thrust can be caused by a variety of factors. These include:
- Prolonged thumb or finger sucking, pacifier use, or bottle feeding beyond an appropriate age
- Missing teeth or an open bite
- Poor muscle tone and strength in the oral facial area
- An upper airway obstruction such as larger tonsils, larger adenoids, or allergies
- Abnormal tongue posture and swallowing patterns that develop over time
These factors can contribute to the development of a tongue thrust and can lead to other issues such as speech and dental problems. It's important to identify and address the underlying causes of tongue thrust in order to effectively treat the condition.
Symptoms of Tongue Thrust
There are several symptoms that may indicate a tongue thrust condition. For example, when swallowing or biting food, an individual with tongue thrust may experience difficulty clearing the food from their mouth or biting into it, particularly if they have an open bite. Additionally, misaligned teeth and distorted speech sounds, such as "th," "s," "z," and "ch," may be present.
Treatment of Tongue Thrust
Early detection and intervention are crucial in the treatment of tongue thrust. A speech-language pathologist can assess the severity of the condition and develop an individualized treatment plan. The treatment may include various exercises to improve tongue strength and coordination, correct swallowing patterns, and eliminate any habits that contribute to tongue thrust.
Personal Experience with Tongue Thrust
As a child, I was a thumb sucker, and over time, my teeth came forward slightly due to my tongue thrust.At the age of 12, my orthodontist did not express concern about my condition, but my parents noticed red flags. They brought me to see a speech-language pathologist, who provided me with specific exercises to correct my tongue thrust. With consistent practice, I was able to improve my tongue strength and coordination and eliminate my habit of sucking my thumb.
Tongue thrust is a condition that can cause various problems, such as difficulty chewing and swallowing, distorted speech sounds, and misaligned teeth. If you suspect that you or your child may have tongue thrust, it's essential to seek an assessment from a speech-language pathologist as soon as possible. With the right treatment and practice, it's possible to correct the condition and improve oral function.
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