Why does Tongue position Matter??

Imagine a river that gets overwhelmed by the force of a flood.  The entire path of small river can be changed by the waters flow.  Our Tongue is an organ made up of sixteen muscles.  Much like the strength of floodwaters, these tongue muscles impact the development of the upper jaw.  If the muscles of the tongue are resting against the roof of the mouth, it acts as an expander and helps the upper arch develop appropriately, to aid our airway.  If the tongue rests low in the mouth, proper arch development cannot occur and our airway can become restricted.  The low resting tongue also leads to mouth breathing.

A low resting tongue during swallow and speech often results in a tongue thrust. 

 

The thrusting action of the mighty tongue can actually change the bony structures of the mouth and face leading to open bites and even causing the lower teeth to cross over the top teeth.  Teeth misalignment is much like those rivers whose paths are altered by the force of the waters that rise.  I like to tell my patients that the muscles of the tongue are actually stronger than the bone itself.  In a battle of muscle and bone, continuous force from the muscles will always win.  It is crucial for developing children to have a proper tongue posture at rest and while swallowing to avoid the surrounding bony structures from forming in a way that would hinder their airway development.

 

The low resting tongue position not only affects growing children, but also leads to jaw pain, mouth breathing, and bite differences in adults.  Many with a low resting tongue have a history of sinus problems because the tongue is not in the roof of the mouth supporting the above sinus structures.  

 

So as you sit reading this, ask your self "where does the tip of my tongue rest?"  If it rests low in the mouth, or against the teeth, the tongue is no longer working for you, but against the natural forces it was designed for.  Call or email us today to schedule a consultation!   

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