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Do you Have a Tongue Thrust?

Tongue Thrust Example PhotoWhat Causes Tongue Thrust? 

  • Thumb sucking and/or nail biting 
  • Mouth breathing
  • Premature loss of "baby" teeth
  • Lack of muscle coordination 
  • Hereditary factors
  • Enlarged tonsils & adenoids

What Associated Oral Behaviors May Be Present? 

  • Sucks the thumb, fingers, tongue
  • Bites fingernails, pencils, etc.
  • Breathes through the mouth
  • Habitually rests tongue against or between the teeth
  • Drinks large amounts of liquid with meals, washing down the food  

Why is the Dentist or Orthodontist Concerned about Tongue Thrust?

Tongue thrust often results in an open bite and/or "buck" teeth. If a person is swallowing incorrectly, it will be difficult to maintain the full orthodontic result: the tongue will continue to affect the overall jaw development and the tooth alignment. Therefore, correcting the tongue thrust before braces are removed is important.

What treatment is appropriate for Tongue Thrust?

Based on the findings of the evaluation, specific goals are determined to meet the needs of the individual, such as:

  • Train the muscles necessary for a good swallow and correct resting posture
  • Teach the correct swallow
  • Make the correct swallow a habit
  • Teach correct production of sounds to eliminate a lisp
  • Eliminate undesirable oral behaviors

We offer an online program to treat Tongue Thrust at home: 

This is the third in the IJustWantTo series of books. Asheville Speech Associates owner Janet Bennett, M.Ed., has a Master's degree in Speech Pathology and has been a licensed, Certified Speech Pathologist for over 30 years. She has treated Tongue Thrust exclusively for the past 20 years.

Read more about Tongue Thrust and how this program may help

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What is a Lisp?

Lisping occurs when the tongue protrudes between the teeth when making the "S" sound, resulting in a "th" sound.

Tongue thrust is the pushing of the tongue against the teeth while swallowing or at rest. The average person swallows 2000 - 4000 times per day and exerts pressure with each swallow. This can push the teeth out of alignment and may cause distorted speech sounds.

How is Tongue Thrust related to Lisping?

  • Not all people who have a tongue thrust have a lisp
  • Most people who have a lisp have a tongue thrust.

If you think you have a lisp, watch this video: