Tongue-tie is a relatively common condition in babies but it often goes unnoticed. If it is not treated, it can cause a lot of issues with breastfeeding and, as your child gets older, they may also struggle to eat and learn to speak properly. If you want to avoid any problems with your child’s development, it’s important that you are aware of how to spot tongue-tie and what to do about it.
What Is Tongue-Tie?
Tongue-tie is caused when the lingual frenulum, the small piece of tissue connecting the bottom of the tongue to the mouth, is too short or unusually thick. We all have this piece of connecting tissue but when it has some kind of abnormality, it restricts the movement of the tongue. In some cases, babies can be born with an abnormality, and this causes tongue-tie. Babies with tongue-tie have difficulty sticking their tongue out and it can be difficult to maintain good oral hygiene because the tongue gets in the way of brushing due to lack of mobility. However, it can be corrected and, in some cases, it doesn’t cause too many problems.
Spotting The Symptoms
Tongue-tie is relatively easy to deal with, but it is important that you know how to spot the symptoms. If you are concerned about your child, pay attention to their tongue. They may be unable to stick their tongue out or move it from side to side very much. Many babies with tongue-tie will also have a heart-shaped or notched tongue when sticking their tongue out as the lingual frenulum pulls back on it. You should also check for tongue-tie if breastfeeding is difficult, but be aware that there are a lot of reasons why they may not be nursing properly.
If you are concerned about tongue-tie, you should take your child to be examined by a professional. A doctor or dentist will use a simple screening tool to measure the shape and appearance of the tongue against a standard base measurement. They can then determine whether the lingual frenulum is irregular and if this is causing problems with tongue-tie. In some cases, the tissue may loosen over time and the problem may correct itself. But if it doesn’t, simple surgical procedures can be used to correct the abnormality and restore a full range of motion to the tongue.
Tongue-tie can affect any child and it’s relatively common. In terms of risk factors, there doesn’t seem to be anything during pregnancy or early childhood that makes a child more likely to experience this condition. However, studies show that boys are slightly more likely to have tongue-tie. Either way, it is a good idea to pay close attention to your baby’s tongue in the first few months of their life so you can pick up on any problems.
Tongue-tie can cause a lot of problems with breastfeeding, eating, and speech development, so it is important that you are aware of it. The good news is, it can easily be fixed.
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