Dental Tips Blog

Mar
13

Don’t Let Tongue Thrusting Ruin Your Smile

Many people enjoy beautiful straight teeth, only to discover that their smile is gradually shifting out of place. There’s an often overlooked culprit that can affect your tooth alignment, known as tongue thrusting.

What Is Tongue Thrusting?

Tongue thrusting, commonly called reverse or immature swallowing, is simply a habit of placing the tongue between the teeth when swallowing. Correct tongue placement during a swallow, is the mid-tongue touching the roof of the mouth. When you swallow incorrectly, you can be placing 1 to 6 pounds of thrust against your teeth.

When you consider that most people swallow 2000 times a day, it’s no wonder that tongue thrusting affects the alignment of your teeth. Tongue thrusting begins during childhood, and if left unmanaged, can continue into adulthood.

Tongue Thrust Therapy

If you believe that tongue thrusting is a problem for you or your child, speak to your dentist.  Tongue thrusting is highly manageable and the sooner it’s addressed, the better. The two most common treatments for tongue thrusting are:

  1. Appliance Therapy – A special tongue guard can be bonded to your teeth, which encourages your tongue into the correct position for swallowing and prevents thrusting. This appliance is typically worn for 4 to 12 months, until the swallowing habit has been corrected.
  2. Tongue Therapy- Did you know your tongue has muscles? Just like the rest of your body, sometimes therapy is needed to help re-train and correct muscle problems. A speech therapist can work in conjunction with your dentist to help you correct your tongue placement for proper swallowing habits and an improved smile.

Do you suspect that tongue thrusting might be a problem for you or your child?  Contact your dentist for a consultation today!

Posted on behalf of:
Group Health Dental
230 W 41st St
New York, NY 10036
(212) 398-9690

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