Ever wondered why there are spaces appearing in your front teeth as an adult? Tongue thrust may be the reason!

What is Tongue Thrust?

Tongue Thrust is the habit of pushing your tongue against the teeth, or between the teeth, while swallowing. It becomes a habit that is usually carried over from infancy into childhood and sometimes adulthood too. Most of the times it corrects by itself, but sometimes it becomes a habit during adulthood with deleterious effects.

We swallow around 1000-4000 times a day and with every swallow, four pounds of force is acted out by the tongue. Hence tongue thrust habit can result in moderate to severe dental and skeletal problems.


What are the causes of Tongue Thrust habit?

Some common causes are:       

  • Prolonged use of pacifiers in feeding infants
  • An abnormally large tongue known as Macroglossia
  • During childhood when teeth are lost, the tongue will seal the empty space during swallowing.
  • Chronic sore throat with difficulty swallowing.
  • Thumb or finger sucking.
  • Allergies, nasal congestion, or obstructions in the nasal passages can contribute to mouth breathing and improper tongue posture.

What are the consequences of Tongue Thrust habit?

  • Protruded front teeth
  • Gaps between teeth
  • Gaps between upper and lower teeth
  • Narrowing of upper arch
  • In severe cases, it may affect speech

How to diagnose Tongue Thrust habit?

Tongue Thrust habit can be recognized by an Orthodontist by performing a simple swallowing test. There will also be one of the clinical symptoms discussed earlier.

How can you correct this habit?

  • In case of mild Tongue Thrust habit, simple exercises with self-discipline and determination will help to solve the issue.
  • Place the tip of your tongue on the palatal gum tissue right behind the back side of your upper front teeth.
  • Clench your teeth together
  • Now swallow by keeping the tip of your tongue on the palatal gum tissue behind the upper front teeth (as mentioned earlier). See to it that the tongue does not touch the teeth, when you swallow.
  • Practice this in the mirror five times a day for two minutes each time. The length of the therapy will depend on patient’s cooperation and dedication.
  • For moderate Tongue Thrust habit, a Myofunctional appliance may be given by your Orthodontist in order to retrain your tongue to swallow properly.

How can you correct the effects of Tongue Thrust habit?

            If clinical symptoms are present because of the habit, Braces can help you out with solving the issue. However, if the cause of Tongue Thrust is not removed then chances of relapse are high even after your Braces treatment.

Consult our in-house Orthodontist, Dr. Anitha Alageshan at Zen Dental and Health Care to know more about your options.

For appointments, call us at: 080-48655431

Or log on to: http://zendental.in


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