How Tongue-Tie Affects Babies, Nursing Moms, and Children

How Tongue-Tie Affects Babies, Nursing Moms, and Children


Tongue-tie, or “ankyloglossia,” is a condition in which soft tissue connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth in a way that restricts the tongue and causes various challenges. Among newborn babies, difficulty breastfeeding is often caused by tongue-tie. A frenectomy is a very simple, quick, and virtually painless solution when a baby is still very young.

If a child with tongue-tie isn’t treated early, additional problems continue as the child grows. This common reality is one of the best reasons to go ahead and have a needed frenectomy while a baby is still very small or, if not then, as early as possible.

Signs that a Baby Has Tongue-Tie

Approximately 4% to 11% of newborn babies are born with tongue-tie, and it is estimated that about half have difficulty feeding as a result. Sometimes the problem is that the frenulum is connected toward the tip of the tongue. This is apparent when an extended tongue looks like a heart or looks like it’s forked.

Tongue-tie can make it difficult for a baby to latch on to the breast. As a result, the baby will feed longer in order to receive adequate sustenance, causing the mother to experience more pain.

The following are more symptoms that could indicate that a baby has tongue-tie and would benefit from a frenectomy:

  • Low weight
  • Impaired tongue mobility
  • Problems swallowing
  • Pain
  • Difficulty licking lips
  • Reflux
  • Vomiting
  • Colic
  • Gassy

Experiences of Mothers Breastfeeding a Tongue-Tie Baby

Being the mother of a newborn has its challenges; and complications of having a tongue-tie baby can create a myriad of problems related to breastfeeding. Struggles experienced by nursing mothers with tongue-tie babies include the following:

  • Bleeding, damaged, or distorted nipples
  • Blocked ducts
  • Mastitis
  • Severe pain when the baby is latching or losing latch
  • A sense of failure
  • Depression
  • Poor bonding between the mother and baby
  • Depression
  • Poor bonding between the mother and baby

Difficulties Experienced by Children with Tongue-Tie

As children with untreated tongue-tie grow up, articulation of certain sounds can affect speech. The “n,” “d,” and “t” sounds are especially difficult. Various mechanical issues can cause children embarrassment. For example, tongue-tie makes it difficult to lick the lips or lick an ice cream cone. The fact that they can’t stick out their tongue is a common social issue reported by children. Kids with tongue-tie are often unable to play wind instruments. Because of tongue restriction, kids can’t wipe their teeth with their tongue, as a result, it’s more difficult to maintain good oral health and clean-looking teeth.

Some symptoms of ankyloglossia are painful for children. The frenulum can get caught between the lower central incisor teeth, which causes cuts under the tongue. It may be painful or impossible to wear a retainer on the lower teeth because of tongue-tie.

Fortunately, tongue-tie can be surgically corrected at any age.

Contact the Experts at Gep TOTs Dental Group

The highly qualified team at Gep TOTs Dental Group specializes in diagnosing and treating babies and children with tongue-tie and other types of tethered oral tissues (TOTs). To correct the condition quickly and with minimal discomfort to the child, we offer dental laser treatment. Call us at (647) 492-7059 today to learn more or to schedule an appointment.