Can Tongue Ties Affect Speech Development?

Being “tongue-tied” is more than just a playful expression – it’s a real medical condition that can cause discomfort and pain to your toddler as well as making breastfeeding difficult.

At Gep TOTS, we are experienced in diagnosing and treating infants, children, adolescents and even adults with tethered oral issues. Our clinic is located in Vaughan, and we perform laser release of tongue and lip ties, keeping bleeding and downtime to a minimum.

To treat this condition, we must first understand it. Let’s take a closer look at how it can affect your toddler and how you can help your child.  


What Is A Tongue-Tie?

Ankyloglossia, otherwise known as a tongue-tie, is a condition that occurs at birth and hinders a toddler’s ability to feed. It is caused by an inadequate connection between the tongue and the lower mouth area. Underneath the tongue is a small strip of tissue called the frenulum, which connects the tip of the tongue to the bottom of the mouth. In some toddlers, the frenulum is inadequate-it can be too short, too tight or too thick.

This condition restricts the movement of the tongue and can result in difficulty feeding as the toddler is unable to effectively grab onto a food source. Tongue ties can vary in severity, ranging from so slight they are difficult to notice or quite obvious to the point that the child’s tongue cannot move at all.

In addition, a similar condition exists called a lip-tie. This condition is related because it also stems from the frenulum-it results when the frenulum is much thicker or stiffer than normal, and results in difficulty moving the upper lip. 

There are different types of tongue ties, and it is recommended to consult your doctor for more information. 


 What Are The Symptoms of A Tongue-Tie?

Tongue ties are often diagnosed when children experience difficulty in feeding and sucking. Inefficient sucking or lack of a good seal during nursing can cause an infant to take in air causing gagging, choking, gassiness and reflux. Left untreated it can also lead to speech delay and/or articulation. A tongue held down for extended periods of time may result in increased mouth breathing and sleep apnea.

Symptoms of these conditions can be broken up into two groups: symptoms experienced by the infant and symptoms experienced by the mother. 


The child’s symptoms:

– Difficulty latching onto the mother’s breast during feeding

– Child may make clicking or sucking noises

– Difficulty breathing during feeding

– Feeding for abnormally long periods (the child is not receiving enough milk)

– Weight loss or delayed weight gain

– Gassiness and/or reflux

– Becoming frustrated or agitated during feeding

– Becoming fatigued or falling asleep during feeding


The mother’s symptoms :

– Nursing fatigue

– Less milk production

– Soreness of the nipple during or after breastfeeding


What Can I Do To Help My Toddler? 

If you notice any of the symptoms listed above, or your child is experiencing difficulty feeding, it is important to consult your child’s doctor as soon as possible. They can provide you with more information on the type of tongue tie your child is experiencing and the type of treatment best suited to relieve your toddler’s symptoms.

In terms of addressing the tongue tie, soft tissue dental lasers are a treatment tool for most children-some children do not require anesthesia and result in less pain and bleeding for the child because the laser cuts by vapourizing the tissue. It is a simple procedure that emits therapeutic light to eliminate harmful bacteria and promote healthy tissue regeneration, reducing the likelihood of infection and freeing your child’s tongue for a full range of movement. 

Gep TOTS is a trusted dental clinic in Vaughan that is experienced in using a soft tissue dental laser to correct this condition quickly with minimal discomfort for your child and fast recovery times!


Can A Tongue-Tie Affect My Toddler’s Speech Development?

Tongue ties can be a serious problem for young children, especially when it comes to feeding. The good news, however, is that medical professionals do not believe that a tongue-tie will interfere with your child’s speech development and their ability to learn and understand speech.

However, because a tongue-tie inhibits movement of the tongue, it can cause issues with speech articulation in children as they try to produce and mimic sounds. These can also include issues licking the lips, being unable to stick out the tongue or keeping the teeth clean. Having this issue corrected will allow your child to experience a full array of tongue movement and allow them to articulate speech perfectly, as well as perform other important oral functions. 


Don’t let your child suffer from the discomfort that comes with a tongue-tie. If you suspect your child may be experiencing this issue; Contact our team today at (647) 492-7059 and help your child live pain-free!