Tongue Tie Exercises for Treatment of Tongue Tie: a tongue-tie is an abnormal condition where the frenulum of a child’s tongue has been cut or retracted into the inlet of their mouth rather than passing over the alveolus (the space under the incisor tooth).
It can lead to speech problems, difficulty swallowing and feeding, and difficulty with breastfeeding. Tongue tie exercises are used to loosen and stretch the frenulum and pass naturally over the alveolus.
Tongue-tie exercises are a normal part of the treatment phase before the surgery. In some cases, they should be practiced daily.
Several exercises are recommended to put your tongue behind your teeth and back into the normal position. The first stage involves relaxing and allowing the frenulum to relax with its ligaments (tendons) remaining tight.
Then, the child will position their tongue so that it is at the back of their mouth furthest from their teeth. The tongue is then moved across the teeth until it reaches the frenulum and again. The tongue’s position can be moved to one side or the other at will.
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7 Best Tongue Tie Exercises for Treatment of Tongue Tie
Tongue retraction in the mouth behind the teeth. All three exercises should be done slowly and gently, never forcing the tongue into the mouth.
If there is any pain or difficulty, stop, reconsider your technique and start over. Do not force back on a retraction that is stuck in place.
1. Place your tongue behind your lower teeth (the ones behind the top teeth) as if you are trying to push a pencil behind. Keep your lower jaw relaxed and open.
Now just let your tongue relax there. If your lower jaw is tense, the tongue will stay stuck in the posterior position instead of relaxing back.
2. From that position, gently extend your tongue forward until it touches the roof of your mouth behind the last tooth and then go back to the original position. Be sure that you are not pushing forward with your lower jaw or teeth but rather holding your lower jaw relaxed in a neutral position.
3. Repeat the forward and back motion 10 times.
4. Now move your tongue laterally, one side at a time, to the right and left behind your teeth.
5. After you have done the lateral movement 10 times, move your tongue around in a circular motion using small circles inside your mouth as far as you can comfortably go if you are doing it correctly
6. Now, make the same type of movements forward, but without coming back to the original position; just continue in one direction. For example, you could move your tongue upward and then down over your teeth.
7. Now that you have gone around in various directions behind the teeth put your tongue back into the original position and hold it there for a couple of seconds
Can tongue-tie be corrected naturally?
Older children should also practice the tongue-tie exercises mentioned above as they occur naturally while they learn to eat more solid foods.
The tongue is constantly stretched, pulled, and pushed around by the lips and cheeks as an infant. This stretching helps prepare the tongue for its future role as the front end of a jaw, eventually assuming it.
Many babies undergo some shifting during development because of this stretching and general muscle development.
Some children do not need the extra support that surgery provides and, instead, can stretch the frenulum on their own as they develop.
In fact, many cases of tongue-tie, particularly mild cases, can be corrected through simple stretches or even with the help of a small device that gently stretches the frenulum with minimal discomfort to your child.
How do you stretch out a tongue-tie?
Some tongue-tie stretches you can perform include:
Elevating or pulling the chin down while your child sucks on a pacifier or fingers. (The tongue-tie is already partially stretched with this position.)
Bring your baby’s lower lip forward and apply pressure to the area between the front two teeth with your finger.
Using simple, non-surgical devices that gently stretch the frenulum like a soother holder has been clinically proven to widen tongue-ties in the mouth of babies.
Are tongue-tie stretches necessary?
It can be difficult to determine when a tongue-tie is too tight or relaxed. Tests may include X-rays, x-rays of the mouth, tongue, and jawbones to determine the size and shape of the tongue and cheeks.
These tests are performed to determine if there are any signs of an abnormal position of the tongue (retraction or tipping) behind the teeth that could lead to problems with speech and feeding.
However, the only way to know for sure is to see a qualified physician for an evaluation. If the doctor finds that your baby’s tongue-tie is abnormal
You will want to take the necessary steps to correct it before it becomes a more serious problem that interferes with your child’s ability to eat and talk.
Tongue tie exercises are very important in preventing various speech disorders and choking issues like aspiration (one of the leading causes of death in children).
The Bottom Line
Tongue ties are a normal part of the growth process in younger children and are not cause for concern.
As a parent, you need to understand that tongue-tie is an issue that affects nearly all children at some point in their lives, and its severity can range from mild to severe.
Some children may require treatment before they reach 5 years old, while others may correct themselves at an older age. It is best to determine the cause of your child’s tongue tie and to obtain appropriate treatment as soon as possible.
During my visit with my pediatrician, I was surprised at how much information he had regarding tongue ties. Still, he was very clear that he would not recommend surgery unless necessary.