A tongue thrust occurs when the muscles for swallowing have learned to work together incorrectly. The tongue can be very strong. When it constantly rest against the teeth and pushes forward during a swallow, it applies pressure that causes teeth to move.
What is the Normal Position of Tongue?
How the tongue rests in the mouth creates habit for how it rest during sleep and throughout the day. If the tongue's usual position is at the bottom of the mouth or between the teeth there will be deviation in the correct swallowing form. When swallowing incorrectly the force used pushing the tongue or thrusting it forward creates pressure on the teeth making them open and overbite and overjets form as the occlusion.
There are many characteristics that determine if you or your child has a tongue thrust. Below are three of the most common signs:
MOUTH BREATHING is the most obvious one. The mouth is open at rest the tongue is often forward or even between the teeth.
SPEECH CONCERNS especially lisping can be a sign of a tongue thrust. Any difficulty pronouncing “T, D, N, and L” sounds is another indicator. General problems with articulation, rate of speech, and voice quality and clarity may also be present.
SUCKING HABITS past or present, can cause a tongue thrust to develop. The formation of the mouth and position of the tongue are changed by the thumb or finger during a sucking habit. Even if a child quits the habit damage caused to the function of the tongue, facial musculature, and other structures often remain.
ORTHODONTIC RELAPSE as an adult or child after getting brackets remove teeth shift back out of perfect alignment. Some cases, less then one year I have seen teeth shift from the pressure of tongue and cheeks engaging an incorrect swallow, tongue thrust.
Breaking oral habits and re-patterning how the muscles function, changing routine slowly over time creates muscle memory that is sustainable. Orofacial Myofunctional therapy specializes in tongue thrust.
Client Comments on Therapy with Marie
I am a "graduate" of Marie's Myofunctional Therapy program, and what a great experience it was. The exercises assigned to me each week were manageable and in fact I enjoyed the feeling of strength over the course of the therapy in my facial muscles, my tongue and my swallow. I greatly appreciate Marie's expertise, patience, good humor and enthusiasm for my progress during these 11 weeks. She took care explaining all aspects of the treatment and the goals of the course, an I am so glad to have improved my breathing habits.
Linda K, Ph.D.
"Marie coached me through a dozen sessions and is very knowledgeable about myofunctional therapy . She thoroughly demonstrated the exercises and helped me make a lot of progress during our sessions. My sleep has improved, and my old habits of tongue thrusting and mouth breathing are fading away. I would recommend her program to anyone interested in improving their health” Tony K, Minnesota
Marie McElderry BSDH