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Tell Me a Little About Tongue Thrust...

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Tongue Thrust

Tongue thrust is when the tongue does not rest properly in the roof, nor swallow in a proper pattern in the roof. As a result, the individual with tongue thrust can often experience a change in their bite, open lips rest posture, and poor oral and facial growth and development. Good news...tongues that rest too low or push against teeth improperly due to tongue thrust while swallowing can be successfully retrained in healthy children and adults through exercise and activity with Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy. I‘ve been providing this therapy 20+ years. This issue can be corrected and managed successfully.

How are habits related?

Thumbsucking is one of the main causes of tongue thrust. So are tethered oral tissues...  And, so is poor nasal breathing. Basically, anything that causes a tongue to rest low, forward, or inappropriately in the mouth can create an environment for tongue thrust and poor oral development to thrive. The tongue must rest and swallow in the roof, the teeth should rest slightly apart, and the lips must rest together gently in the presence of nasal breathing for proper facial and oral growth and development to occur.  That is how small roofs grow wide and healthy, and faces grow proportionally, all encouraging a proper airway and room for erupting adult teeth. So...if a tongue is up in the roof, the roof grows nice and wide like a tongue. What do you think a roof looks like if a thumb is up there instead of a tongue!? Ask yourself...where does your tongue rest? Hopefully, in YOUR roof!

Shari has published research showing that myo functional therapy is effective in improving the altered growth of tongue thrust on the oral structure. Above is research from the IJOM journal on a 9 year old client with tongue thrust. Notice the difference from top to bottom in this child’s oral growth and development.When the tongue started resting up in the roof, the roof begins to grow more appropriately. The earlier photos show narrow roof growth. This changed when the tongue started resting up in the roof, as it then appears to have grown more appropriately. This client learn to rest their tongue, lips, & jaw appropriately, and chew &  swallow correctly.

.Tongue thrust is the general term to describe an imbalance of the facial muscles of the tongue, lips, and jaw. Proper rest position is tongue up, teeth almost touch, with the jaw aligned, and lips together. In tongue thrust, the lips are often apart, the Jaw is forward or dropped, and the tongue forward is often forward or down.Tongue thrust often leads to open bites and malposed teeth. It’s the slow gradual pressure from this tongue posture that takes it’s toll on the bite. It becomes very difficult for teeth to come in straight, come in correctly, sometimes to come in at all or on schedule, or to hold an orthodontic correction. Over time, poor oral rest postures that do not support good facial balance or oro hypotonia (tone) can lead to poor growth and development in the roof, face, and can even effect breathing or encourage TMD. If caught early enough, effects can be minimized. OM therapy can be successful at any age in the compliant and healthy person.