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Thumb Sucker

Swallowing patterns are developed from initial oral experience. Breastfeeding engages the tongue to develop a healthy pattern for swallow. This is different when bottle or pacifier are used frequently. Nipple shape and forces used by tongue to release milk initiates correct swallow as well as shapes the top of the mouth. Bottles and pacifiers or any other non-nutritive sucking engages other muscles that are not meant for swallowing. This is called a tongue thrust. Thumb sucking, finger sucking, or any other oral habit engages muscle that are compensating. This develop swallow pattern movement of the tongue forward and down instead of up and back. The tongue, like any muscle repeats these patterns and it creates a muscle memory of bad habits. Even if the thumb sucking is no longer going on the muscle memory has already been established.

Myo Oral Health has a program developed specifically for those who are ready to give up the thumb/finger sucking and create a healthier swallow. Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy evaluates how the muscle pattern is engaging in swallow and retrains these muscles by strengthening and toning over therapy sessions. Each week building on the prior. The exercised based program is uniquely established for everyone depending on their needs.

So, what if I have a tongue thrust? Well, the general health of your body depends on a proper swallowing pattern. The mouth is the portal to the body and beginning of the digestive system. Our digestive system basically is tubes and valves. When the start of digestion is not functioning correctly it alters the rest of the system. Signs include:

  • Digestive Issues (gas, burping, indigestion, food sensitivity)

  • Mouth Breathing (dry mouth)

  • Crooked Teeth

  • Narrow Palate (small mouth)

  • Open Bite (teeth front doesn’t connect)

  • History Chronic Congestion (Airway Issues)

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