Tongue Thrusting & How It Can Impact Your Child’s Smile

Tongue thrusting is similar to when your child sucks on their thumb or fingers. The tongue pushes against the front of the teeth, pushing them slowly out of alignment. Dr. Cameron Fuller states, “When your child’s tongue moves in this manner, they are cutting off the mouth’s ability to swallow.” When the teeth are pushed out, it creates an overbite and can cause difficulty with your child’s ability to speak correctly. 

This pattern of swallowing usually develops when your child is learning to chew and swallow. The pattern can be difficult to break, and it is recommended that you consult your child’s dentist, who can work with your child and develop a new pattern of swallowing.  

As your child begins to talk and say sounds, it is critical that teeth are in their correct positions. If you wait to deal with your child’s tongue thrust until they are in school, it can make the correction more difficult, as patterns have been established.
How can you tell if your child is tongue thrusting? Watch as your child swallows. Does it appear they are pushing their tongue against their teeth?

Dr. Fuller recommends, “Visit the dentist after their first teeth erupt. This initial visit allows the dentist to determine if there are any other problems that are developing with the teeth, the smile or the tongue.” At this time your dental care provider can make any recommendations that will help alleviate the problems. 

Call Dr. Fuller & his team with any questions.


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