Tongue Posture
Tongue Thrust, Mouth Won't Close

Three Signs of a Tongue Thrust:

  • The tongue pokes out to greet utensils.
  • Constant lip licking when eating.
  • Tensing of the lips or face when swallowing.

A tongue thrust is the most common Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder (OMD). This is when the tongue thrusts forward during the oral swallow. In the past, it was commonly thought that the pressure of the tongue thrusting forward during the oral swallow was the cause of this myofunctional disorder.  The latest studies now show that it is not, in fact, the pressure from swallowing that disrupts the natural eruption pattern of the teeth, jaws, and lips, but rather the consistent pressure from the tongue resting against the teeth rather than on the “spot”, or incisive papilla. Our main goal in Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy is to ultimately habituate a new, CORRECT rest posture of the tongue.

A normal resting posture is a ‘lips together, teeth apart’ posture. An incorrect resting posture may appear differently for each individual patient. Many incorrect resting postures are interrelated, so it is common to find that one patient may have many factors contributing to their OMD.

Tongue-thrusting is a normal pattern for all infants. There are, however, a variety of reasons why an infant may not outgrow this behavior that is considered normal during the first year of life by 3 years old they should start displaying an adult swallow. 

Here are a few examples of factors influencing prolonged tongue-thrusting: 

Bottle Feeding Genetic Factors Digit-Sucking/Pacifier Sucking

  • Sippy-Cup Use
  • Enlarged Tonsils and/or
  • Adenoids
  • Allergies
  • Mouth Breathing
  • Tongue Size (Macroglossia) but rare.
  • Tongue-Tie (Ankyloglossia)