Where is your tongue? Is it in the top of your mouth sitting against the palate or between your teeth, or is it low in the bottom of your mouth? Tricky to think about, isn't it? The tongue is such an important part of daily function, yet we don't think about how it functions. We swallow 600-900 times a day, according to studies (1). What happens if the tongue is not in the correct "spot" and incorrect swallowing 600-900 times! That is a lot of pressure our tongue is putting on our teeth, no wonder they shift back after we get braces off! The correct "spot" is when the tip of the tongue is behind the front teeth and the middle or back of the tongue is up against the palate too. The whole tongue at rest is against the palate, is yours? If not your body is not swallowing correctly and that leads to many complications in our bodies.
Our mouth is the beginning of our digestive system. If our tongue isn't functioning as it should it will alter the rest of our digestive experience and cause excessive gas, burping, hiccuping, bloating, acid reflux, or stomach aches. None of those are fun to experience, so why not look at how your tongue is and how it is functioning!
When our tongue is not in the "spot" the muscles of the face, cheeks, and tongue have low muscle tone. Our body will compensate and engage other muscles in chewing and swallowing that are not made for that function. This alters how our body was made to work (2).
Sometimes low tongue at rest is due to a physical limitation, a restricted frenulum. We will go more into this topic another time.
Clients I see daily have never had their tongue evaluated the way I do as an orofacial myofunctional therapist. As a dental hygienist for the last 18 years it was never on how I evaluated the tongue. I was looking for growths, lesions, deviations that were possible pre-cancer. Never did I evaluate my clients swallowing pattern, or ask them where their tongue was during the day. Never did I ask them how they sleep at night, if they snore? Another topic I will elaborate on later.
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