Understanding Tongue Tie in Infants ~ Causes and Solutions

Tongue Tie – What is it?

Tongue tie, a condition that can affect newborns, occurs when the piece of tissue attaching the tongue to the floor of the mouth is shorter than usual, limiting the tongue’s movement and functionality. This condition can pose challenges for effective breastfeeding and even bottle feeding, as it may hinder a baby’s ability to latch, suckle, or nurse properly. A baby’s tongue tie can have not only health implications for the infant, but potentially for the mother as well.

Does my baby have it?

There are several observable signs and symptoms to look out for. These can be present in bottle-fed as well as in nursing babes:

  • When nursing, are they struggling to latch? Do they detach frequently during feeding? 
  • Are they frustrated and fussy during nursing sessions? These could be indicators of a tongue tie.
  • You may notice that your baby has difficulty extending their tongue beyond their gum line or that their tongue has a heart-shaped appearance when they cry or attempt to stick it out.
  • How is their weight gain? Tongue tie can sometimes lead to poor milk transfer, resulting in slower weight gain than expected for your baby’s age.
  • As children with untreated tongue tie grow, they may exhibit speech and language difficulties. This can show up as trouble pronouncing certain sounds, articulating words clearly, or experiencing delays in speech development.

Identifying a tongue tie in your child can be challenging, as many of its signs and symptoms have the same appearance of general colic and neuro-gastric distress. Therefore, it is very important for your child’s healthcare provider or tongue tie specialist to differentiate between these conditions and identify the underlying cause of your child’s nursing and sleep challenges.

Can a tongue-tie get worse with age?

Sometimes, as children grow and the structure of their mouth develops, they may naturally adapt to the tongue tie limitations. However, it’s important to note that this is not the case for everyone. In fact, for many children, the symptoms and challenges associated with tongue-tie persist or even worsen.

Delaying proper care can have several consequences. For infants, untreated tongue tie can lead to breast and bottle feeding difficulties, affecting both the baby’s nutrition and the mama’s comfort. As a child grows, untreated tongue-tie can hinder speech development and lead to issues with articulation and pronunciation. It can also cause dental problems, as well as difficulties with simple activities like licking an ice cream cone or playing musical instruments that need precise tongue movements.

How can chiropractic care help tongue tie?

To better understand the relationship between your baby’s tongue tie and subluxation, a study found that 99 out of 100 healthy newborns exhibited a comparable problem resembling chiropractic subluxation. These concerns were frequently in the upper neck and Cranium, responsible for neuro-muscular activity of the mouth, jaw, and tongue.

If the tongue tie is surgically treated without consulting with a Pediatric Chiropractor to address potential nerve-related issues before surgically release the tongue tie, the surgery could initially worse symptoms instead of improving them. The connection between subluxation and tongue tie is clear, but more research is needed.

The important thing for your little one is to consult with a trained health care provider that works with tongue tie and a Pediatric Chiropractor before and after the release. This will help relieve any associated tension, subluxation, and even biomechanical dysfunction.

Both Dr. Angela and Dr. Ariel can help! If you have questions or would like to have your baby evaluated, click here and we will get right back to you!

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