What is tongue tie?
Tongue tie, also known as ankyloglossia, is a condition that affects infants and, in rare cases, adults. It occurs when the thin piece of tissue (lingual frenulum) that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth is shorter, thicker, or tighter than usual. This condition can potentially impact a person’s ability to move their tongue freely and can cause a range of issues. In this article, we will explore the causes, symptoms, and available treatment options for tongue tie
Tongue-tie is a condition that affects up to 1 in 10 babies
It is more common in boys than girls
Tongue ties are common in my family, including myself, so when my son Jenson had trouble feeding, I had a feeling what was causing it. After examining his mouth it was pretty clear, so I contacted a private specialist who came to our home to perform the procedure. She was incredible, spending two hours with us explaining everything and observing Jenson feeding before and after the cut. I felt at ease and overjoyed with the results.
Tongue tie is typically present from birth, and its exact cause is not always known. However, several factors can contribute to the condition, including genetic factors and abnormal development during fetal development. It is not caused by anything the parents did or didn’t do during pregnancy.
The symptoms of tongue tie can vary from mild to more severe and can impact breastfeeding, speech, and oral hygiene. Here are some common signs and symptoms to look out for:
- Breastfeeding difficulties:
- Difficulty latching onto the breast.
- Inadequate milk transfer.
- Nipple pain or damage.
- Poor weight gain in the infant.
- Speech and language issues:
- Difficulty articulating certain sounds, such as “t,” “d,” “l,” and “r.”
- Lisping or other speech distortions.
- Challenges with tongue movements required for speech.
- Oral hygiene concerns:
- Difficulty cleaning the tongue or reaching certain areas of the mouth.
- Increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease due to inadequate oral hygiene
If tongue tie is causing significant issues, treatment options may be considered. The decision to pursue treatment depends on the severity of symptoms and individual circumstances. Here are some common treatment options:
- Frenotomy or Frenuloplasty:
- Frenotomy, also known as tongue tie release or clipping, is a simple and quick procedure where a healthcare professional cuts the lingual frenulum to release the restriction.
- Frenuloplasty is a similar procedure, but it involves making a small incision and suturing the wound to allow for better healing.
- Speech Therapy:
- In cases where tongue tie is causing speech difficulties, speech therapy may be recommended to help improve tongue movements and speech articulation.
- Speech therapy exercises can help strengthen the tongue muscles and improve coordination.
- Ongoing Support and Care:
- After treatment, ongoing support and care are crucial. This may involve working with lactation consultants, speech-language pathologists, and oral hygiene professionals to address any remaining challenges.
Tongue tie is a condition that can impact an individual’s ability to move their tongue freely and can cause difficulties with breastfeeding, speech, and oral hygiene. If you suspect tongue tie in yourself or your child, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional who can provide an accurate diagnosis and discuss suitable treatment options.
Getting Help and advice for Tongue Tie
|Dr. Sharon Silberstein|
& W1G 9QY
|The Tongue Tie Association||www.tongue-tie.org.uk||Find a practitioner close to you|
Gentle Births and Beyond
|Aneeka & Annette – Private midwives and tongue tie practitioners||www.aiyanaholisticservices.co.uk|
07469 008 348
Want to know more?
‘Why tongue tie matters’
by Sarah Oakley for further reading or listening.
Click here to buy your copy.