Most people don’t pay attention on tongue posture when resting, swallowing, or eating. Normally, the tongue is placed behind the front teeth, plastering the entire roof of the mouth, and pushing up against the palate (the roof of the mouth) during swallowing.
Tongue thrust is a condition where the tongue protrudes through the front teeth while eating or speaking, and at rest. The abnormal tongue posture has a negative impact on the orofacial structure, causing misalignment of teeth, or anterior open bite. Fortunately, tongue thrust Myofunctional therapy can help correct your tongue posture to restore your orofacial muscle functioning to normal.
What causes tongue thrust?
Tongue trust has multifactorial etiology, and very often originates from toxic habits like prolonged bottle-feeding or use of pacifiers, thumb sucking (past or present), or mouth breathing. All of these behaviors contribute to improper tongue posture and facial development, as well as alternate proper muscle functions. Even if the child/adult quits the habit, the damage caused to the function of the tongue, facial musculature, and other structures often remains.
Why does proper tongue posture matter?
As a powerful muscle, the tongue exerts a pressure of up to four pounds per swallow. In a typical day, we swallow 600-1000 times on average! This immense tongue pressure causes the upper arch of the mouth to spread wide and flat.
Improper tongue posture is a major contributing factor in anterior open bite development. People whose tongues constantly rest at the bottom of the mouth are prone to developing high narrow arches and have insufficient vertical movement of the tongue. These individuals perform horizontal tongue movements with protruding tongue between the anterior teeth during swallowing. In the case of tongue thrust, the constant force that the tongue puts on the front teeth causes the misalignment of teeth, as well as structural abnormalities of the face.
Open bite is the most common type of tongue thrust, wherein the upper and lower front teeth do not meet while chewing or at rest.
Children or adults with tongue thrust have the following tell-tale signs:
- Difficulty closing the lips completely
- Mouth breathing
- Protrusion of the tongue between the front teeth, even at rest
- Messy eating
How myofunctional therapy helps
Tongue thrust therapy comprises a series of breakthrough exercise techniques that train the muscles of the tongue to regain their normal posture. We all understand that physical therapist exercises, corrects, and strengthens body muscles. On the other hand, myofunctional therapist corrects tongue muscle function through series of tongue thrust exercises. Clinical studies have shown that orofacial myofunctional therapy corrects the positioning and functionality of the tongue at rest and during swallowing by exercising and strengthening the appropriate muscles.
As a trained and passionate myofunctional therapist, I am committed to delivering individualized therapies based on your unique conditions and needs.
You can benefit from therapy no matter where you live through my convenient online Skype sessions!
Want to learn more? Book a free 30-minute consultation today.