All you need to know about Tongue Thrusting Habit in Children

What is Tongue Thrusting?

Tongue thrusting is an oral habit in kids when the tongue pushes forward against the teeth or between them during swallowing, speaking, or at rest. This can cause dental problems, speech difficulties, and other issues with oral function.

At The Dental Solutions Thane, various dental appliances are available to curb this oral habit in kids. In the information provided below, we will briefly discuss the types and the treatment options available- brought to you by The Dental Solutions Thane

Types of Tongue Thrusting

  1. Anterior tongue thrust: This is the most common type of tongue thrusting, in which the tongue pushes forward against the front teeth during swallowing or at rest.
  2. Lateral tongue thrust: In this type of tongue thrusting, the tongue pushes against the side teeth during swallowing or at rest.
  3. Interdental tongue thrust occurs when the tongue pushes between the front teeth during swallowing or at rest, which can cause dental problems such as malocclusion.
  4. Posterior tongue thrust: This type of tongue thrusting involves the tongue pushing backward against the soft palate during swallowing, which can cause speech and other problems.

 Causes of Tongue Thrusting

  1. Genetics: Some people may be genetically predisposed to tongue thrusting or incorrect swallowing patterns.
  2. Thumb sucking or pacifier use: Extended thumb sucking or pacifier use can lead to tongue thrusting and other oral habits that can cause dental problems and speech difficulties.
  3. Mouth breathing: Chronic mouth breathing can cause the tongue to rest incorrectly, leading to tongue thrusting and other issues.
  4. Tongue tie: Ankyloglossia, or tongue tie, is a condition in which the lingual frenulum (the band of tissue that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth) is too tight or short, leading to difficulty with tongue movement and swallowing.
  5. Neurological conditions: Certain neurological conditions, such as cerebral palsy or Down syndrome, can cause tongue thrusting and other oral problems.

Complications of Tongue Thrusting

  1. Dental problems: Tongue thrusting can cause misalignment of the teeth, resulting in an overbite, underbite, or other dental problems.
  2. Speech difficulties: Tongue thrusting can affect the ability to pronounce certain sounds correctly, leading to speech difficulties.
  3. Swallowing problems: Tongue thrusting can interfere with the normal swallowing, leading to choking or gagging sensation
  4. Oral health issues: Tongue thrusting can cause dry mouth, leading to bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease.
  5. Social and emotional issues: Tongue thrusting can affect self-esteem and social interactions, particularly if it causes speech difficulties or dental problems.
  6. Difficulty wearing dental appliances: Tongue thrusting can make it difficult to wear dental appliances such as braces or retainers.

Dental appliances for Tongue Thrusting

  1. Tongue crib: A tongue crib is a small metal device placed in the mouth’s upper arch behind the front teeth. It consists of a wire that is connected to bands that are placed on the upper molars. The purpose of a tongue crib is to prevent the tongue from pushing against the teeth, encouraging it to rest on the roof of the mouth instead.
  2. Tongue rake: A tongue rake is a small plastic device placed over the tongue, similar to a mouth guard. It has a small protrusion that rests on the roof of the mouth, which helps to promote proper tongue placement and discourage tongue thrusting.
  3. Oral screen: An oral screen is a small plastic device placed in the mouth and held in place by suction. Its small extension rests on the roof of the mouth and helps promote proper oral posture and discourage tongue thrusting.
  4. Palatal bar: A palatal bar is a metal bar attached to the roof of the mouth using bands placed on the back molars. The bar rests on the tongue and encourages proper tongue placement, which can help reduce tongue thrusting.