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What Is A Tongue Stick?

What Is A Tongue Stick?

Wednesday, May 01, 2024

The tongue is an essential organ that plays a vital role in our daily lives. It is a muscular organ located in the mouth and is responsible for diverse functions such as chewing, swallowing, and speaking. The tongue comprises several muscles that work together to facilitate its movement, and it is one of the most sensitive organs in the body, with thousands of taste buds that allow us to taste different flavors.

 

Apart from its primary functions, the tongue also provides important cues about our overall health. For instance, the color and texture of the tongue can indicate the presence of various health issues such as infections, vitamin deficiencies, and dehydration. 

The position of the tongue in your mouth can have a profound impact on your overall health. If your tongue is not resting properly in your mouth, the tongue exercises will train your tongue to rest in a different place and The Tongue Stick™ will strengthen and tone it.

In this article, we discuss the Tongue Stick and its role in oral health. 

1. What Is A Tongue Stick™? Understanding Its Role In Tongue Therapy

In the realm of oral health and speech therapy, various tools and techniques are employed to address unique anatomical challenges. One such innovative tool is the Tongue Stick™, a device designed to assist individuals whose tongues are too wide for their mouths, leading to various complications. 

Dr. Ralph Fregosi, Ph.D. and Professor of Physiology & Neuroscience at the University of Arizona, did a vital pilot study to document that these tongue muscle exercises are associated with marked increases in neural drive to the tongue muscles.

The data obtained through EMG recordings show intense activation of the genioglossus muscle during the exercises, underscoring the targeted impact of the Tongue Stick on the principal tongue protrudor muscle.

 You can find more about that here

The Challenge Of A Crowded Tongue

Many people struggle with what is referred to as a "crowded tongue." This condition is characterized by the tongue being too large for the mouth, which often results in difficulties such as keeping the mouth closed or frequent biting of the tongue. A clear indicator of this issue is the presence of small indentations along the sides of the tongue, signifying that it is pressing against the teeth.

How The Tongue Stick Works

The Tongue Stick is specifically crafted to aid in the performance of exercises aimed at reducing the width of the tongue and strengthening its muscles. The device facilitates targeted muscle training by enabling precise strokes along the lateral blades of the tongue. 

These movements are crucial for stimulating and tightening the tongue muscles, potentially leading to a "skinnier" tongue that fits more comfortably within the mouth.

In addition, you learn how to perform an isometric exercise between your tongue and The Tongue Stick to increase the tone of your tongue. Fortunately, your tongue has muscle memory that insures that your muscles will continue to be strong and toned, as long as you continue to talk and eat.

Key Exercises With The Tongue Stick

  • Holding the Tongue 'On the Spot': This exercise trains individuals to keep their tongue on the roof of the mouth, which helps strengthen neuromotor tone.
  • Tongue Clicking ('Tsks'): Focuses on the tip of the tongue, engaging the genioglossus muscle, crucial for protruding the tongue.
  • Tongue Strokes: This exercise involves stroking the sides of the tongue, significantly activating the genioglossus muscle through a reflex likely initiated by pressure-sensitive sensory endings in the tongue's mucosa.

2. Understanding Tongue Thrust And Its Implications

Tongue thrust refers to a condition where the tongue presses too far forward during swallowing, speech, and sometimes when at rest. This habitual pattern can lead to orthodontic issues, such as open bite, where the upper and lower teeth do not touch when the mouth is closed, and speech impediments.

The Tongue Stick's Role In Correcting Tongue Thrust

The Tongue Stick plays a vital role in addressing tongue thrust. By facilitating exercises that retrain the position of the tongue, the device helps in establishing healthier swallowing patterns and resting positions. Here's how the Tongue Stick contributes to correcting tongue thrust:

  • Promoting Proper Tongue Placement: The tongue exercises encourage the tongue to rest at the roof of the mouth, which is crucial in correcting tongue thrust.
  • Strengthening Tongue Muscles: Stronger tongue muscles help maintain the correct positioning of the tongue, reducing the likelihood of it pushing against the teeth.
  • Preventing Oral Health Issues: Using the Tongue Stick to make your tongue skinnier and stronger will increase the ease with which you can breathe through your nose. Nasal breathing can help in preventing conditions related to improper tongue posture, such as tooth decay and gum disease, which are exacerbated by chronic mouth breathing.
  • Facilitating Proper Swallowing Mechanics: The tongue exercises help in retraining the swallowing mechanism, ensuring that the tongue presses against the palate rather than thrusting forward against the teeth.
  • Improving Aesthetic Alignment: For those with orthodontic concerns, such as an open bite, the Tongue Stick makes the tongue smaller, making it easier to keep your lips closed.
  • Increasing Muscle Coordination and Control: The targeted exercises improve the coordination and control over tongue movements, which is beneficial for both speech and eating.

As the tongue becomes slimmer and the space issues within the mouth are resolved, users often notice a natural correction of speech impediments like lisps. A lot of the tongue exercises increase the ability of the tongue to naturally retract, staying out of reach of the teeth. In some cases, these improvements eliminate the need for direct speech therapy.

Real-Life Benefits Of The Tongue Stick Reported By Users

Users of the Tongue Stick have reported several improvements in their oral functionality and comfort. Here are some of the benefits highlighted by clients:

  • "My tongue feels different the way it fits in my mouth."
  • "I no longer bite the sides of my tongue."
  • "I can chew my food with my mouth closed."
  • "People can't see my tongue now when I talk."
  • "It's easier to keep my tongue up on the roof of my mouth."
  • "Since it is easier to keep my mouth closed, I can now breathe through my nose instead of my mouth."

Additional Insights Into Tongue Health And Therapy

Beyond its immediate physical benefits, the effect of the Tongue Stick also offers psychological and social advantages. Many users report increased confidence in social situations due to improved speech clarity and reduced oral discomfort. The psychological aspect of feeling more at ease with one's oral functions cannot be overstated, as it significantly impacts quality of life.

Benefits Of Correcting Tongue Thrust

There are numerous other potential health and wellness benefits of correcting tongue thrust, including:

  • Better Oral Hygiene: Less risk of tooth decay and gum disease due to increased saliva production.
  • Improved Sleep Quality: Better oxygen absorption and reduced snoring, potentially affecting sleep apnea.
  • Lower Risk of Respiratory Infections: Enhanced filtering of airborne pathogens through nasal breathing.
  • Optimal Facial Development: Encourages proper jaw alignment and facial aesthetics.
  • Increased Comfort: Reduces symptoms of dry mouth, chapped lips, and throat irritation associated with mouth breathing.
  • Clearer Speech: Improves vocal clarity.

Get The The Tongue Stick™ With Your IJustWantTo® Correct My Tongue Thrust Program

The Tongue Stick is not just a tool but a revolutionary approach to managing a common but often overlooked problem—tongue crowding. Its design and the exercises associated with it go a long way in improving the lives of individuals facing daily challenges due to their tongue's size and muscle tone.

As more people discover its benefits, it stands out as a significant advancement in oral health and therapeutic practices.

With our seven-step program designed to retrain your tongue to fit prosperity in your mouth, you receive one patented Tongue Stick™ and one “Reminder” bracelet to help you with performing the exercises. Order yours today!

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.