It may surprise you to know that your tongue is just as important as your teeth and gums when it comes to your oral health. Your tongue is vital to your mouth and your body because it allows you to taste, chew, and swallow your food. If your tongue is not functioning correctly, it can have a huge impact on your health.
Tongue thrust is a condition that presents itself early on as children, but if not treated it can cause serious issues.
What is tongue thrust?
Tongue thrust occurs when the tongue is consistently pressed too far forward in the mouth causing an open bite. An open bite is a malocclusion where the front top and bottom teeth don’t touch when the mouth is closed. There are several reasons one may develop a tongue thrust habit. It is most commonly seen in children because they are pushing their tongue forward more often as they are swallowing and learning to speak.
Tongue thrust is normal in babies since they are breastfed or bottle fed, but it’s something they usually grow out of. In some children, it can take longer and possibly additional dental care to kick the habit to the curb.
What are the causes of tongue thrust?
The most common causes of tongue thrust include:
- Prolonged sucking (using pacifiers, fingers or thumb)
- Prolonged use of bottle with nipple (most pediatricians say to transition from bottle to sippy cup or cup by age one)
- Reverse swallow
If you’re unsure if your child has tongue thrust you can look for these signs:
- Tongue is evident between the teeth
- Breathing through the mouth instead of the nose
- Open bite
- Messy eating
- Lisp speech
- Cannot completely close mouth
Can adults have tongue thrust?
Though it is less common for adults to show signs of tongue thrust, some children do carry tongue thrust into adulthood if it goes untreated. As an adult, signs of tongue thrust may be less apparent but still noticeable. You may suffer from allergies or swelling of the tonsils or adenoids or simply thrust your tongue as you’re sleeping. You may experience trouble eating which may present itself in ways such as trouble swallowing, uncomfortable eating, or the inability to use your front teeth to bite through certain foods. If you suspect you have tongue thrust, you should talk to your dentist as they can diagnose and help treat it.
The good news is that Invisalign can help correct dental problems caused by tongue thrust and open bite.
How can Invisalign address complications caused by tongue thrust?
It’s crucial to fix an open bite in order to improve your sleep quality, ability to eat food properly, and communicate clearly. Invisalign has been proven to greatly reduce signs of an open bite by using clear trays to move and straighten teeth over time. Since an open bite is more serious compared to a few crooked teeth, it may require wearing the Invisalign aligners for a longer period of time.
Schedule your consultation with us today!
Give us a call at (574) 269-1787 or contact us here to schedule your Invisalign consultation with us. We will go over all of your options, show you before and after pictures of open bite corrections, and walk you through the process.