What Is Tongue Thrust And How To Treat It

When the tongue protrudes too far forward in the mouth, it causes tongue push, which leads to a “open bite,” an aberrant orthodontic condition. The condition affects kids the most frequently. Its causes are numerous and include: sluggish swallowing, allergies, tongue-tie.

Infants’ Tongue Push

Tongue thrust is typical in infants who are breastfed or bottle-fed. Normal development of a child’s swallowing and speaking routines as they age. Nevertheless, some pacifiers and bottle nipples, as well as extended bottle usage, can cause an aberrant tongue push that continues through the baby period and into early adolescence. Several factors, some of which start in early childhood, may also contribute to tongue push. Here are a few of these:

  • Sucking habits over a lengthy period of time, such as sucking the tongue, thumb, or fingers.
  • Tonsils or adenoids that are persistently enlarged as a result of allergies.
  • Tongue-tie, a condition in which the tissue band under the tongue is constricted or short.
  • A technique for swallowing known as the reverse swallow.

When the tongue moves too far forward during eating or speaking, it is known as tongue push in youngsters. The tongue tends to go forward in the mouth the majority of the time. On occasion, the tongue will squish against the back of teeth.

Adult Tongue Thrust

When childhood concerns or behaviors are not addressed, they might persist into adulthood and cause tongue push. If you have a tongue-thrusting problem as an adult, it may have arisen from long-term allergies or from enlargement of the tonsils and adenoids. Another potential contributing cause is stress. Although cases of tongue thrust emerging later in life do exist, they are rare.

Similar to those in toddlers, tongue thrust symptoms also exist in adults. Other signs, like sloppy eating, may not be as obvious. In your sleep, you could protrude your tongue. The inability to seal their mouth and swallow normally in adults with tongue thrust may have resulted in the development of an extended facial structure or look in addition to the symptoms mentioned above.

They could also have a tongue that is bigger than usual. Moreover, a tongue push that results in an open bite might be problematic when eating. Some meals might be difficult to bite into if the front teeth don’t line up properly. Also, some items, like lettuce or lunchmeat, may be difficult for a person to chew with their front teeth. Alternatively, the meal could squeak between their teeth.

How Can Tongue Thrust Be Identified?

Tongue thrust can be identified by a variety of medical specialists, including: practicing generalists, Pediatricians, SLPs, dentists, and orthodontic specialists. Your doctor may listen to you talk and swallow, or the doctor of your kid. Holding down the bottom lip while observing how you or your child swallows is one way certain professionals may assess swallowing habits. Your doctor will particularly be interested in the location of the tongue during swallowing.

In order to fully diagnose tongue thrust, it’s probable that additional relevant medical specialists will get involved. For instance, the first diagnosis can be made by your child’s doctor. A speech-language pathologist, an orthodontist, an ear, nose, and throat specialist, or a gastroenterologist may then need to assess your kid. Your child’s treatment team will include any specialists who can offer their knowledge of the root cause or symptoms of their tongue push.

Can Tongue Thrust Lead To Additional Diseases Arising?

Your front teeth may shift outward when the tongue presses up on the rear of them. Your middle top and bottom teeth now have an open bite, which results in a gap. Untreated tongue push can cause permanent speech impairment, such as a lisp over particular consonants. Also, it may cause your facial features to lengthen and your tongue to stick out from between your teeth.

What Is The Remedy For Tongue Thrust?

Children and adults often get identical treatment for tongue thrust. The installation of a “tongue crib,” a type of orthodontic appliance, in the roof of a child’s mouth is one exception. This fixes an open mouth. Adults can also have orthodontic care in specific situations.

In general, orthodontic appliances can provide effective therapy. To determine the best course of action for you, consult with your dental specialists. Orofacial myology is a recommended course of treatment sometimes. The lips, jaw, and tongue are positioned correctly through this continual therapy. This treatment also targets swallowing practices. Open bite corrections performed without continuous therapy have been seen to gradually go backwards in time.

Your doctor could advise treating any nasal, allergy, or respiratory conditions that could be contributing to your child’s or your own tongue pushing. For swallowing treatment to be effective, breathing problems must be treated. You or your kid may need speech therapy in addition to swallowing treatment to address any speech difficulties that may have arisen as a result of tongue thrusting. If the weekly therapy suggestions are consistently followed, tongue thrust may eventually be fixed. You or your kid will also receive therapy for any underlying conditions that are connected to or have contributed to tongue thrust.


The issue of tongue protrusion is quite curable. If you commit to going to the right therapy sessions your doctor advises, you can fully recover. You might also need to treat any underlying medical issues that cause you to push your tongue. If you cure those issues and follow your treatment plan, tongue thrusting should eventually stop.

Can You Treat Your Tongue Thrust Yourself?

The majority of the time, tongue thrust cannot be fixed on its own and needs the assistance of a neuromuscular dentist. Alternatively, delaying treatment might result in lifelong oral health issues and a sleep apnea-causing obstruction of the airway. Your youngster might receive assistance from the experienced Marin family dentists if they have tongue thrust.

When Does The Tongue Thrust Become A Problem?

At the age of 7 or 8, a baby’s tongue thrust usually completely returns to normal functioning. However this might become an issue if your youngster keeps pushing their tongue against or in between their front teeth when they talk or swallow.

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