Tongue Thrusting

What is tongue thrusting?
The abnormal habit of placing the tongue against the front teeth before and during the act of swallowing. During normal swallowing, the tongue should be placed on the roof of the mouth, not against the front teeth. Placing the tongue against the teeth develops the
upper arch faster than the lower arch, protruding the front teeth and making them appear “bucked”.

How do I know if my child is a tongue thruster?

  • mouth breathing = your child has an open mouth posture most of the time
  • forward placement of the tongue at rest = if you see the tongue peeking through your child’s teeth
  • lisp when speaking = making s, z, t, d, n, l sounds by putting tongue between rather than behind teeth
  • making a strange face or grimace when swallowing

What can be done about tongue thrusting?
There are appliances that can help train children to properly swallow, thus preventing major orthodontic problems, abnormal speech patterns and abnormal facial development. The appliance may be a removable retainer that is used a few hours each day, but in some cases, the appliance may be bonded into place.