Tongue-tie isn’t merely awkwardness of speaking in a nervous situation. It’s actually a medical condition called “ankyloglossia” in which the tongue is hindered from moving freely. What prevents normal movement of the tongue is the tissue connecting the tongue to the base of the mouth. If the tissue, called the “frenulum,” is very thick, tight, or attaches to the tongue far forward in the mouth, it causes tongue-tie. According to one study published in The Journal of the American Board of Family Practice, tongue-tie occurs in about 4.2% of babies born. Do you think your baby may have tongue-tie? The following are signs and symptoms of this condition that can negatively affect a person throughout childhood and adulthood, if not addressed.
How Tongue-Tie Affects Breastfeeding
It’s not always immediately obvious that a newborn baby has ankyloglossia. Problems with breastfeeding often lead to the discovery. Lip-tie is a similar condition to tongue-tie except that it’s the top lip that can’t move freely. If someone has lip-tie they usually also have tongue-tie but not the other way around.
How tongue-tie or lip-tie affects breastfeeding:
- At first, a newborn may get an adequate supply of milk. When the baby is continually unable to latch on properly during breastfeeding, a result can be inadequate stimulation of the mother’s breasts. Her milk production can decrease, resulting in poor weight gain.
- Digestive problems such as reflux and colic can occur because digestion begins in the mouth.
- Babies with lip-tie cannot open up to properly project their lips, which can prevent them from effectively grasping the breast.
- A baby may refuse the breast due to frustration over getting an insufficient supply of breast milk.
- A baby may begin gumming or chewing the mother’s nipple while attempting to nurse. As a result, the mother’s nipples can become cracked and sore and could develop blisters.
- Breast engorgement occurs when a baby is getting an inadequate supply of milk. Swollen, hard breasts can become painfully tender, especially during breastfeeding.
More Signs and Symptoms of Tongue-Tie
A person with tongue-tie may not be able to stick out their tongue past their lips; this is not a sign of a “short tongue.” If a person’s outstretched tongue looks heart-shaped, it’s because the frenulum is attached too close to the front of the tongue. A baby may not be able to bottle-feed or use a pacifier. Other symptoms of tongue-tie in babies and children follow:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Problems moving the tongue from side to side
Dental problems are common among children with tongue-tie because they are unable to run their tongue along their teeth after eating. Because debris is more prone to stay on the teeth, decay occurs. Difficulties speaking are among the numerous other symptoms of tongue-tie in children.
Last Treatment for Tongue-Tie
The earlier tongue-tie is treated, the easier it is on the patient. The Gep TOTs Dental Group at Woodbridge Kids Dentistry specializes in diagnosing and treating infants and children with tongue ties and lip ties, also referred to as “tethered oral tissues” (TOT). We quickly correct the condition with minimal discomfort using a dental laser. For the best treatment for tongue-tie and lip-tie, contact our team of kid-friendly experts today at (647) 492-7059.