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Learning that your child has a health issue is a concerning time for any new parent.
Regardless of the diagnosis you receive, it can be scary to accept.
However, there are treatments available that can help with nearly every issue you may face.
One common childhood issue is called tongue tie.
And no, it’s not the same thing as when you stumble over your words or struggle to find the right thing to say.
If your child has been diagnosed with tongue tie, there are speech therapy treatments in Washington DC that can help.
Read on to find out more about tongue tie – what it is, what causes it, and how we can help here at Triumph Therapeutics.
What Is Tongue Tie?
Ankyloglossia, known by the much catchier name of tongue tie, is a disorder where a child has either an abnormally short or thick frenulum.
Your frenulum is the band of tissue that stretches between the bottom of your tongue to the floor of your mouth.
Take a look in the mirror – open your mouth and raise your tongue up, and you’ll see your frenulum.
This seems like a very small part of your mouth, and it is, but it can cause issues with a tongue’s range of motion.
Symptoms Of Tongue Tie
Because this is a condition that frequently affects babies, you’ll have to observe your child to see if you can spot any symptoms.
- Difficulty lifting their tongue
- Difficulty moving their tongue from side to side
- Difficulty sticking their tongue out
- Has a heart-shaped tongue when sticking out
- Difficulty latching when breastfeeding
- Nipple pain while breastfeeding
- Fussiness during breastfeeding
- Long breastfeeding sessions
- Being underweight
- Making clicking sounds while breastfeeding
It’s possible to not notice symptoms of tongue tie until your child is older.
If your child is complaining about the following, they may have tongue tie:
- Difficulty speaking
- Difficulty eating
- Difficulty swallowing
- Difficulty eating ice cream or other licking foods
- Difficulty touching their back teeth with their tongue
Older children and adults with tongue tie may have difficulty learning to play a wind instrument, or have trouble with kissing.
How Common Is Tongue Tie?
The exact number of children with tongue tie is unknown.
However, a paper co-authored by a number of researchers gives a range between 0.1% to 25%, depending on the researcher quoted.
This is a wide range, of course.
Part of the reason for this range is because research into tongue tie has been increasing in recent years, so we’re finding cases more often.
Either way, taking even the most conservative estimates, tongue tie is not a one in a million issue.
Speech Therapy Treatments For Tongue Tie
In most cases, your child’s doctor will diagnose tongue tie.
Depending on the severity of your child’s tongue tie, they may recommend a “wait and see” approach.
This is often not the best approach.
If your child’s tongue tie is causing difficulties with their speech, they may begin to form some bad habits as they struggle to find ways to create sounds in spite of their tongue tie.
In some cases, your child’s frenulum may release or loosen over time, but it’s difficult to tell when this will happen and when it won’t.
The truth is, some children who have tongue tie have no speech issues, and some children with speech issues do not have tongue tie.
However, if your child is showing symptoms of speech difficulties, speech therapy can help.
A common therapeutic approach we often employ at our Chevy Chase pediatric therapy clinic is to explore the sounds your child can make and is struggling to make.
These sounds will vary by age, of course.
There are certain milestones most English speaking children are able to meet by certain ages.
For example, by the time your child is a year old, they can usually make simpler sounds like /p/, /b/, /m/, /n/, /d/, /t/, and /s/.
More complex sounds come in later, until about age five where most children are able to make all the sounds required in the English language.
When you make a sound, you use different parts of your mouth to do it – that should come as no surprise.
Children with tongue tie have a more limited range of motion that can affect the way they make some sounds, in particular the sounds /l/ and /th/.
Usually they can make these sounds between one and two years old, but if they’re having trouble with them, it’s a good idea to see a speech therapist.
Book An Appointment With Triumph Therapeutics Today
Whether your child has speech issues because of tongue tie or another issue, we can help.
As a pediatric therapy clinic, we specialize in working with kids as young as infants, helping them overcome their