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Out of the Box Solutions for Sleeping Better

Out of the Box Solutions for Sleeping Better

Monday, May 01, 2023

If you’ve heard the term tongue thrust from a doctor, dentist, or speech pathologist, it’s likely that you have some questions. In this article, we’re discussing some of the most frequently asked questions we hear about tongue thrust. 


18 Frequently Asked Questions About Tongue Thrust

Tongue thrust is a condition where an individual pushes their tongue against their teeth or between their teeth when they swallow, speak, or rest. It can lead to dental issues, such as malocclusion and speech problems. Here are some frequently asked questions about tongue thrust:

1) What causes tongue thrust?

Tongue thrust can be caused by various factors, such as improper swallowing patterns, genetics, thumb-sucking, or tongue-tie. Some people may also develop tongue thrust due to allergies, enlarged tonsils, or nasal obstructions that make it difficult to breathe through their nose.

2) How can tongue thrust affect my dental health?

can tongue thrust affect my dental health

Tongue thrust can cause dental problems such as an open bite, overjet, or crossbite. When the tongue pushes against the teeth, it can lead to misalignment and tooth movement over time. It can also cause problems with the jaw and the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).

3) How can I know if I have tongue thrust?

A dentist or an orthodontist can diagnose tongue thrust through a thorough examination of your teeth and bite. They may also observe your swallowing patterns, speech, and facial muscle movements.

4) Can tongue thrust be treated?

Yes, tongue thrust can be treated through various methods, such as Myofunctional Therapy, orthodontic treatment, speech therapy, or a combination of these methods. The goal of treatment is to retrain the tongue to swallow properly and prevent further dental issues.

5) Is tongue thrust common?

Tongue thrust is relatively common, and it can affect people of all ages. However, it is more prevalent in children, and it often resolves on its own as they grow older. Adults can also develop tongue thrust due to various factors, such as injury, illness, or changes in the facial structure.

6) How can I prevent tongue thrust?

Preventing tongue thrust involves developing proper swallowing patterns and correcting any habits that may contribute to the condition. For example, avoiding thumb-sucking, practicing good oral hygiene, and maintaining good posture can all help prevent tongue thrust. If you suspect you have tongue thrust, consult with a dental professional to determine the best course of treatment.

7) Can tongue thrust cause breathing problems?

Yes, in some cases, tongue thrust can lead to breathing problems, especially if the tongue is obstructing the airway during sleep. This can lead to snoring or sleep apnea, which can impact overall health and quality of life.

8) Can tongue thrust be caused by anxiety or stress?

There isn't a direct correlation between anxiety or stress and tongue thrust. However, some people with anxiety or stress may develop habits such as clenching their jaw or grinding their teeth, which can contribute to tongue thrust over time.

9) Can tongue thrust be corrected without surgery?

Yes, in most cases, tongue thrust can be corrected without surgery. Treatment methods such as Myofunctional Therapy, orthodontic treatment, or speech therapy can help correct the condition and prevent further dental issues.

10) How long does it take to correct tongue thrust?

The length of treatment for tongue thrust can vary depending on the severity of the condition and the chosen treatment method. Some patients may see improvement within a few months of starting treatment, while others may require more extended treatment periods. Consistency in performing exercises and following through with treatment recommendations is essential for success.

11) Can adults develop tongue thrust?

Yes, adults can develop tongue thrust due to various factors such as illness, injury, or changes in facial structure. Some adults may also have had tongue thrust as a child, and it went undiagnosed and untreated, leading to long-term effects.

12) Can tongue thrust cause pain or discomfort?

can tongue thrust cause pain

Tongue thrust itself may not cause pain or discomfort, but it can lead to dental issues such as misalignment or crowding of teeth, which can cause discomfort. Additionally, if the condition leads to breathing problems or sleep apnea, this can cause pain or discomfort during sleep.

13) Is tongue thrust related to tongue tie?

Tongue thrust is not directly related to tongue tie, but people with tongue tie may be more prone to developing tongue thrust because the tongue's movement may be restricted. Tongue-tie is a condition where the lingual frenulum, a small piece of tissue that connects the tongue to the bottom of the mouth, is too tight or short.

14) Can tongue thrust cause speech problems?

Tongue thrust can lead to speech problems such as difficulty with certain sounds, lisping, or nasal speech. This is because the tongue's position and movement affect speech production.

15) Can tongue thrust be prevented in children?

Preventing tongue thrust in children involves developing good oral habits early on, such as avoiding thumb-sucking, practicing good oral hygiene, and promoting proper tongue and lip position during speech and swallowing. Regular dental checkups can also help catch any issues early on and prevent tongue thrust from becoming a more severe problem.

16) How can I tell if my child has tongue thrust?

You may notice your child pushing their tongue against their teeth or between their teeth during swallowing or speech. They may also have an open bite, speech problems, or difficulties with certain foods. If you suspect your child has tongue thrust, consult with a dental professional for a proper diagnosis and treatment recommendations.

17) Is tongue thrust more common in certain populations?

Tongue thrust can occur in people of any age, gender, or ethnicity. However, it may be more common in certain populations, such as those with allergies, enlarged tonsils or adenoids, or people with craniofacial abnormalities.

18) Can tongue thrust affect overall health?

can tongue thrust affect health

Tongue thrust may not directly impact overall health, but it can lead to dental issues, breathing problems, or speech problems, which can impact your overall quality of life. In some cases, tongue thrust can also be a sign of an underlying health issue, such as allergies or sleep apnea.

What to Do About Tongue Thrust

Tongue thrust is a condition that can develop early in life and persist into adulthood if left untreated. It can lead to various dental problems, such as malocclusion, crowding of teeth, and changes in the facial structure. The condition can also cause speech problems such as lisping, difficulty with certain sounds, and nasal speech.

One of the primary causes of tongue thrust is improper swallowing patterns. Normally, the tongue should rest at the roof of the mouth and move downward and backward during swallowing. 

However, in people with tongue thrust, the tongue moves forward or pushes against the teeth during swallowing, which can cause dental issues over time. Genetics, thumb-sucking, and tongue-tie can also contribute to the development of tongue thrust.

Treatment for tongue thrust often involves a multidisciplinary approach. Myofunctional Therapy is a common treatment method that focuses on retraining the tongue to swallow properly and developing proper oral habits. 

Orthodontic treatment such as braces, palatal expanders, or retainers can also help correct dental issues caused by tongue thrust. Speech therapy may also be necessary to improve speech patterns and pronunciation.

It's important to diagnose and treat tongue thrust early on to prevent dental issues and speech problems from becoming more severe. If you or your child are exhibiting symptoms of tongue thrust, consult with a dental professional to determine the best course of treatment. 

In some cases, tongue thrust may resolve on its own, especially if it's caused by a habit like thumb-sucking. However, it's always better to be proactive and seek treatment to prevent further dental issues.

When Tongue Thrust Does Not Self-Correct

when tongue thrust does not self correct

Our seven-week program helps correct tongue thrust by retraining the tongue to rest properly in the mouth. 

This program is the only solution of its kind. It’s a tongue exercise program that has proven results to correct a tongue thrust and fix an incorrect tongue position. This is accomplished by building the tongue muscles with specific exercises and making the new tongue position a habit. 

When this happens, nasal breathing should replace mouth breathing while sleeping, stopping snoring and other symptoms of mouth breathing.

When tongue thrust is corrected, it can lead to a variety of improvements in one's overall health and well-being. Tongue thrust, which is the habit of pushing the tongue against or between the teeth during swallowing or speaking, can cause a number of problems, including dental issues, speech impediments, and sleep disorders.

By working to correct tongue thrust through exercises and therapy, individuals can experience several benefits, including:

  1. Improved dental health: Tongue thrust can cause dental problems such as misalignment, crowding, and an overbite or underbite. Correcting tongue thrust can help alleviate these issues and improve overall dental health.
  2. Enhanced speech: Tongue thrust can also cause speech impediments, such as lisps or difficulty pronouncing certain sounds. Correcting tongue thrust can help improve speech and communication abilities.
  3. Better breathing: Tongue thrust can also contribute to breathing difficulties, particularly during sleep. By correcting tongue thrust, individuals may experience better breathing and fewer sleep disruptions.
  4. Reduced facial tension: Tongue thrust can cause facial tension and jaw pain, particularly if the habit is severe or long-standing. Correcting tongue thrust can help alleviate this tension and promote relaxation in the facial muscles.
  5. Improved self-esteem: Correcting tongue thrust can also have positive effects on one's self-esteem and confidence. With improved dental health, speech, and breathing, individuals may feel more comfortable and confident in social situations.

Start the IJustWantTo® Correct My Tongue Thrust program today and take the first step towards correcting your tongue thrust.

Over the course of seven weeks, our program will guide you through a comprehensive and effective tongue thrust correction program. You'll receive personalized coaching from experienced professionals, as well as access to valuable resources and tools to help you succeed.

Don't let tongue thrust hold you back any longer. Take control of your oral health and start the IJustWantTo Correct My Tongue Thrust program today. Your future self will thank you!

Janet M. Bennett

Written by:

Janet Bennett, M.Ed., CCC-SLP, is a Speech Pathologist in private practice in Asheville, NC, since 1977. She specializes in treating tongue thrust, a swallowing disorder that can result in buckteeth, an open bite, a lisp, snoring, and other problems that have not yet been made known to most people.