Tongue Thrusting, Cause Or Symptom?

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You may be exhibiting Tongue Thrusting behavior, is it the cause or the symptom?

What is tongue thrusting? Tongue thrusting is when you are speaking, swallowing or eating and your tongue pushes outward between your front teeth. When your tongue thrusts it may cause a lisp in your speech and trouble sleeping, eating and breathing.

A tongue thrust is normal for babies in order to protect their airway. During a tongue thrust, the back of the tongue moves forward and up against the roof of your mouth. The tongue is pushed forward though the front teeth, developmentally moving the teeth outward over time. As a child grows from infancy and continues to display a tongue thrust, she will begin to display one or all of the common symptoms: lisp, dental problems, difficulty eating, difficulty sleeping.

Therapy developed to treat tongue thrusting.

The problem is tongue thrusting. The solution is a new, developing therapy called Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy. What does that mean?

Orofacial means: Related to the mouth and face

Myofunctional means: “Myo” is muscles and functional is how they work.

Therapy means: Treatment intended to relieve or heal.

Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy: Treatment intended to relieve or heal muscles of the mouth and face.

Dental professionals as well as speech therapists are receiving advanced training in providing this therapy to patients who experience common symptoms of tongue thrusting. Patients who may be candidates for this therapy may have:

Oral habits:

  • Prolonged thumb or finger sucking
  • Cheek/nail biting
  • Teeth clenching.


Restricted nasal airway causing an open-lip posture:

  • Enlarged tonsils/adenoids
  • Allergies/asthma
  • Sinusitis


Structural or physiological abnormalities:

  • Feeling tongue-tied (short lingual frenum)
  •  Abnormally large tongue (macroglossia)
  •  Abnormally small jaw (micrognathia)


Neurological or developmental abnormalities:

  • Down Syndrome
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Other diagnosed neurological problems that limit the patient’s ability to achieve the necessary muscle function for correction.


If you or a child you know is showing causes or symptoms of tongue thrust remember that the earlier therapy begins, the fewer complications will develop. Find a Orofacial Myofunctional Therapist in your area. In Albuquerque, Call Dr. Abeyta at 505-293-7611.

Read about what a Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy Sessions is like. (coming soon)


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