Tongue-tie is a common – yet misunderstood- condition that is present at birth and restricts the tongue’s range of motion. With tongue-tie, an unusually thick, short or tight band of tissue (lingual frenulum) holds the bottom of the tongue’s tip to the floor of the mouth. People with tongue-tie may have difficulties sticking their tongue out, eating, speaking and swallow. Infants may also experience difficulties with breast-feeding.
Tongue-tie may not also cause problems, however, if you are experiencing the following symptoms due to tongue-tie, you may require a simple procedure for correction:
- · Difficulty lifting the tongue to the upper teeth or moving the tongue from side to side
- · Trouble sticking out the tongue past the lower front teeth
- · A tongue that appears notched or heart shaped when stuck out
Usually the lingual frenulum separates before birth, thus allowing the tongue to move freely. The reason for the lingual frenulum remaining attached to the bottom of the tongue is still largely unknown, however, some cases of tongue-tie have been associated with certain genetic factors, or may occur in babies who have other problems that affect the mouth or face, such as cleft palate.
Many infants with tongue-tie can breast and bottle-feed successfully, however, in cases where the lingual frenulum is too tight, it may interfere with the infant’s ability to breastfeed. Mothers may experience sore or damaged nipples and the baby may have difficulty drinking enough to gain weight.
Signs that a baby could be tongue-tied include that:
- · the mother has sore nipples during and after breastfeeding
- · the mother has squashed nipples after breastfeeding
- · the mother has a white compression mark on the nipple after breastfeeding
- · the baby has difficulty latching on to the nipple
- · the baby often loses suction while feeding and sucks air
- · the baby’s mouth makes a clicking sound while feeding
- · the baby fails to gain weight