Dental Health
December 1, 2015
Tongue thrusting

This week we look at tongue thrusting, which is the forward movement of the tongue tip between the teeth to meet the lower lip during swallowing and speech, so that the tongue lies interdentally (between the teeth).

Approximately 97 per cent of newborns exhibit tongue thrust. Tongue thrust decreases with age; three per cent of 12-year-old children exhibit the habit.{{more}}


There are several medical, as well as environmental factors that can cause tongue thrust swallow pattern:

1. Macroglossia (enlarged tongue)

2. Thumb sucking: may result in anterior open bite leading to tongue thrust associated swallowing pattern.

3. Enlarged adenoids and tonsils: It is very common in children and results in blockage of nasopharynx, leading to mouth breathing. This, in turn, may lead to tongue thrust while swallowing.

4. Malocclusion: The incidence of tongue thrusting during swallowing has been reported to be higher in children with malocclusion (misaligned teeth).

5. Hereditary factors

6. Allergy

7. Abnormal sleeping patterns

8. Ankyloglossia (tongue tie), and

9. Prolonged use of certain types of artificial nipples used in feeding infants

Common manifestations of tongue thrusting are:

1. Open bite: It is a common feature of tongue thrust.

2. Cross bite

3. Midline diastema

4. Short and flaccid upper lip

Management depends on:

1. Severity of malocclusion

2. Maturity of the patient

3. Structural obstruction.

Dr Keith John

Email:[email protected]

Clinic: SVG DentalCorporation

Telephone: 784-456-2220

Cell: 784-526-0752