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We All Have One

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Almost everyone takes their tongue for granted. After all, you’ve swallowed and probably licked ice cream bars for your lifetime. You’ve pronounced words correctly and whistled. While I’m certain that you’ve never stuck your tongue out at someone (cough), I bet that you learned that it isn’t considered appropriate behavior.

Yet, I need to discuss a “tongue thrust reflex”, the abnormal motion of your tongue when swallowing. If you have ever seen someone with the biting edge of their front teeth tipped closer to their lips than normal, you’ve seen the results of a tongue thruster. This is accompanied by larger-than-normal spaces between teeth, as well. Often, the edge of one’s tongue has a scalloped appearance. Some people also lisp and many snore.

To solve this misbehaving muscle, children and adults often participate in Myofunctional Therapy, which trains their muscles to swallow correctly.

I don’t want new parents to worry, however. It is normal for newborns to thrust their tongues out for 3-4 months because they use this position to suck milk or formula. Parents often interpret this as a dislike of normal food. Others recognize that this is a defense mechanism which prevents the baby from allowing solid objects, including chunks of food, into their tiny “windpipes”.

Contact Winterset Dental to schedule your appointment.