Where is Your Tongue Resting?
Thank you for visiting this page!
This is a COMMUNITY OUTREACH effort to get people to understand about the often ignored, but VERY important, role of the TONGUE in your OVERALL HEALTH!
If you are here, maybe you saw this website address on the back of a car or online through our many posts. Either way, we bet you are wondering.......
WHY is anyone asking this question?
HELLO! My name is Dawn Moore and I am a Speech-Language Pathologist and Certified Orofacial Myologist (COM)®. While you may have heard of the first profession, I bet you haven't heard of Orofacial Myology.
THAT is one of the many purposes of this page.
But first, let's answer the question.....
Where is YOUR tongue resting?
Did you know that your tongue SHOULD be resting on the roof of your mouth known as the PALATE?
Why is this important?
Because the tongue is responsible for or related to the following functions most of us take for granted:
Breastfeeding efficiently without pain for the mother
Speech and language development
Swallowing (including opening the eustachian tube to drain fluid from the ears)
Maintaining the upper dental arch (maxilla)
Breathing (through the nose) for GOOD SLEEP
You may have been aware of some of the functions on this list, but did any surprise you? Training in the field of Orofacial Myology has been an eye-opening journey regarding what the tongue is supposed to do and what it is NOT doing for so many people!
What is an Orofacial Myologist?
Orofacial Myologists (or myofunctional therapists)
treat what are known as
Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders or OMDs
Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMDs) are compensations we have adopted due to some kind of disruption within the development of the face and eruption of the teeth. These may include:
Thumb and finger sucking habits
A habit of resting with the lips apart
Mouth breathing due to enlarged tonsils and adenoids
The tongue resting forward and low between or against the teeth
Other harmful oral habits
One of the most important things you can do
for your child
BEGINNING AT BIRTH
is to make sure they
BREATHE THROUGH THE NOSE
during the day and at night!
Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders are often
related to or can contribute to:
Low tongue resting posture or Tongue Thrust
Disruptions in eruption and development of the teeth
Problems with speech and language development, especially speech articulation
Feeding problems or picky eating
Abnormal facial growth and development including long, narrow faces
Improper development of sinuses, nasal passages, and the airway
MOUTH OPEN BREATHING
Sleep apnea ~ Lack of oxygen to the brain!
Did you know all that the TONGUE and HOW we breathe can impact all of the areas above?
From our experience, many people may have heard the term
TONGUE THRUST but may not know what it means.
TONGUE THRUST is where the tongue rests against or between the front or side teeth rather than ON the palate (roof of the mouth). The name tongue thrust is the action people make when they have this condition as the tongue moves forward to swallow or "thrusts" forward.
The misconception is that this thrusting tongue movement is responsible for moving the teeth out of alignment. However, that is not true.
The tongue RESTING on the teeth or floor of the mouth is what causes problems in tooth eruption, tooth alignment, and facial development in addition to problems with chewing, swallowing, and digestion
Most of the damage from the tongue resting low or on the teeth happens at night when the tongue presses against the teeth for long periods of time. Just as the controlled continuous forces of braces can move teeth, the tongue has the ability to do the same and it's a VERY powerful muscle.
Many orthodontists do not understand how much the tongue impacts the teeth, nor that it maintains the upper dental arch. Because of this, applying braces will straighten the teeth while they are on, but as soon as they are removed, the tongue will push the teeth back out of alignment, especially if the retainers are not worn.
My Personal Story
Before becoming an Orofacial Myologist, I struggled for years to get help for my daughter's abnormal tongue resting posture (tongue thrust) that I diagnosed at 2 years of age.
Her teeth were a mess at 7 and it was difficult to find treatment for her other than braces. Unfortunately, I knew that braces were only going to treat the SYMPTOM of a larger problem which was where her tongue was resting.
Below you can see what this OMD did to the development of her face. This is something I was NOT aware of UNTIL I had my training and it is why I am sharing this information here!
It took 5 years of braces, a Herbst appliance, and myofunctional therapy to correct the damage that was done by her tongue not resting on the palate.
My goal is to educate parents on HOW to treat these conditions EARLY so the damage to the teeth and face is AVOIDED or at least minimized!
Needing braces, which seems to be a rite of passage today, is NOT normal and many cases can be traced back to some type of undetected OMD!
Without treating the UNDERLYING problem, the teeth will MOVE again when the braces are removed as barely anyone will wear their retainers for LIFE!
My Daughter Before
My Daughter After
How Do I Know If My Tongue Is Resting Properly?
Some common signs of a tongue that is not resting properly include:
Upper teeth pushed out of alignment and further forward than lower teeth (overjet)
Open space when teeth are together that has the same shape as the tongue (small O)
Messy eating or food falling from the front of the mouth during chewing
Taking LARGE bites of food and/or swallowing without chewing
Chewing on ONE side of the mouth
Excessive need to drink during meals
Difficulty swallowing pills or requiring the pill to be placed far back into the mouth
Lips often open/apart
Tongue always visible
Tooth pain after waking due to the pressure of the tongue at night
Jaw pain, clenching, or grinding
How can I find out if there is a problem?
You can do a simple swallow test to determine if you should seek out an Orofacial Myologist or Myofunctional Therapist.
Hold a sip of water in the mouth.
SMILE to open the lips while keeping the teeth clenched.
Those with an abnormal tongue resting posture will typically have one or more of the following characteristics:
1) The tongue will come forward and make contact with the front teeth.
2) The water will spill out the front of the mouth.
3) The head will be thrown back to initiate the swallow.
4) They will not be able to swallow without closing the lips.
5) They will say they cannot do it.
DISCLAIMER: This is not a replacement for a professional evaluation, but it can give you some information regarding your own swallow patterns or those of your children allowing you to seek further assistance.
Houston....We have a problem!
If you are concerned about facial development for your children or identified a possible
tongue resting posture in yourself, you can get help now! Luckily there are more professionals than ever before who are treating these conditions early to PREVENT needing braces down the road or relapse after orthodontic treatment.
Many of these conditions are apparent at BIRTH! Babies born
with recessed lower jaws, tongue/lip ties, or who are mouth
breathing during the day and/or night need immediate
Myofunctional therapy can correct the oral rest postures of the tongue, lips, and jaw so the face and teeth can develop naturally. This therapy is appropriate for children ages 5 and up
*(For children under 5, see below).
The first step is to have an evaluation which is a comprehensive assessment of function of all of the oral structures including a detailed case history since birth. This evaluation can take up to 2 hours and yields a 8-9 page written report with recommendations, referrals to other professionals if needed, and a plan for treatment moving forward.
Your therapist will recommend beginning weekly therapy and assign 3-4 exercises that must be completed at least twice a day. For example, putting the tongue up behind the top teeth and holding it there for 30 seconds is one type of exercise. Sounds easy right? There are requirements such as mouth is open wide and tongue is not allowed to move. You would be surprised to find out how many people cannot do something that seems so simple, especially when it comes to not moving the tongue.
How Long Will It Take?
We get asked this question a lot. Typically, with good practice, the total number of sessions ranges from 16-24 or four to six months. Missing daily practice can extend the program while completing the exercises with consistency can shorten it.
How Much Will It Cost?
This is usually the next question and an important one! Each myofunctional therapist or orofacial myologist has their own pricing so it would inappropropriate to post information here.
One thing to consider is that you are paying for a specialized, tailored, and highly individualized therapy that only a few hundred people in the country can provide.
Additionally, while the cost of braces continues to soar, people seem to figure out how to pay for them, yet attempting to correct the problems that may lead to needing braces or preventing relapse is judged to be too expensive. Luckily, the cost of myofunctional therapy is not even close to the cost of braces yet it can do so much more for your overall health!
Will Insurance Cover It?
Unfortunately, no. However, we can file with your insurance so the cost is applied toward your deductible.
What Do I Do Next?
Call our office and begin the intake process for the evaluation at (336) 350-9263.
*For Children Under 5
Even though most children under 5 would not be candidates for a full myofunctional program, it does not mean they wouldn't benefit from an evaluation as it can identify any issues that may lead to a more serious myofunctional problem down the road. It will also assist the parents by providing necessary referrals for issues regarding airway, breathing, and tongue resting posture. Additionally, we have other treatment modalities that will put them on the right track for good facial and dental development.
Our goal is to normalize resting postures of the lips,
tongue, and jaws so that healthy facial and dental
development can occur naturally which in turn
creates healthy airways and great sleep!
More Information on Sucking Habits and
Sleep Disordered Breathing
We can provide help for your child's sucking habits using methods from Unplugging the Thumb created by Sandra R. Holtzman, MS, CCC/SLP
Note that we are not saying pacifiers and thumbs are necessarily bad! We are in no way shaming mothers who are using these.
We all need a break and they are great ways to soothe our children!
Sucking while babies is natural and great for naps and soothing situations, when it becomes a problem is when the child is walking around all day sucking. They go into a trance-like state and are more concerned with their sucking which in turn results in them communicating less with others and their surroundings. We want to cut these habits out as soon as possible so the children can interact and communicate more rather than occupy their attention with sucking.
For more info you can go to: http://orofacialmyology.online/common-disorders-related-to-sucking-habits/
Sleep Disordered Breathing
Approximately 42 Million American Adults have Sleep Disordered Breathing
Sleep Disordered Breathing describes a number of breathing disorders.
One example is
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
OSA affects more men than women, people with obesity, hypertension, excessive alcohol use, smokers, upper airway or facial abnormalities, and more.
Morning headaches, forgetfulness, moodiness, waking up tired, depression, restless sleep, Loud or chronic snoring.
Sleep apnea can lead to serious health issues over time including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and weight gain.
For more information you can read this article by Karen Wuertz DDS
This ASHA article has a good story for information about sleep disordered breathing in children.
"One of the tongue's biggest roles is to maintain the airway for breathing"
Waking multiple times
If you are concerned and want more information, please contact our office at (336) 350-9263.