Tongue Tie

Introduction

Apart from aiding in speech, the tongue has an important role in many other activities such as swallowing, eating, tasting food, sweeping the mouth for food debris and other particles.

Tongue-tie is a condition where the free movement of the tongue is restricted due to abnormal attachment of the base of the tongue (lingual frenulum) towards the tip of the tongue. The attachment or so called lingual frenulum may be too short and taut after birth, or may not have receded and may remain attached too far along the base of the tongue. Because of this the tongue is unable to move and function normally

How To Know If Your Child Is Having The Condition?

If the lingual frenum extends to the tip of the tongue, a v-shaped notch or heart shape can be seen at the tip.

The affected child would experience difficulty in sticking the tongue out far beyond the edge of the lower teeth, and rolled on the upper teeth for cleansing or free to move from side to side.

Tongue-tie is congenital, and there is no means of prevention.

Potential Effects Of Tongue Tie To Children

Dental caries can occur due to food debris not being removed by the tongue’s action of cleansing the teeth and spreading saliva. Gingivitis (gum disease) can develop, for the same reason.

Tongue tie may cause a persistent gap between the bottom two front teeth.

    1. 1. Speech development
    2. It is important to note that tongue tie does not necessarily impair speech. Many individuals compensate well and have normal sounding speech, even those with the frenum attached very close to the tongue tip under the tongue. Some individuals may have imprecise articulation.

    3. 2. Dental problems
    4. 3. Oral hygiene
    5. Bad breath may be present, due to caries and food debris.

 

  1. 4. Eating and digestion
  2. Some children with tongue tie are messy eaters due to a restricted ability to tidy up inside and outside of their mouths while they are having a meal. Some are unable to circle their lips with their tongues in order to fully lick their lips. In extreme cases poor oral hygiene can lead to digestive complaints.

Treatment Of Tongue

Simple surgery is recommended to relieve tongue tie if functions are affected especially if speech is compromised.

Tongue tie relived after surgery

Advice

Visit your pediatric dentist /speech pathologist or doctor early to assess.

Last reviewed : 20 April 2012
Writer : Dr. Laila bt. Abd Jalil