Tongue tie is very common in babies but if not spotted can affect your child’s speech, particularly when they start school. Here is all you need to know about tongue tie and how Happy Kids Dental can help your child.
How can tongue tie affect my child’s speech?
As one of the most sophisticated fine-motor functions of the body, speech product requires several systems to work together. There are several components of speech production; articulation is one of them.
We know that tongue is the most versatile and most commonly used articulator, which is used in every speech sound.
There are many articulation errors that relate to tongue ties. Have you heard your child saying “yeyow” instead of yellow – or “tat” instead of cat? This might sound adorable to you when your child is two years old, however becomes a concern once children go to school. Sometimes a child copes with tongue restriction by omitting speech sounds – for example, saying “pen” for open or “bi” for big.
A good way of understanding tongue ties is to think about how your child’s speech changes when a front tooth is lost. This is a temporary alteration that is noticeable. However, when your child has a tongue tie, you might not realise that his speech might sound very different if restriction is released.
Depending on when a tongue tie is discovered, some children will find a compensating mechanism – which means they adapted their other muscles to produce sounds in ineffective way. This can cause a narrow palate, neck tension, headaches and sinus infections.
How does tongue tie affect my child’s eating habits?
We often hear about children who are labelled as ‘picky eaters’ – they seem to be the last ones to finish their meals and prefer foods that are easily dissolved in the mouth such as crackers.
They may actually have a tongue tie and be trying to avoid foods that scatter in the mouth once bitten into, as it requires use of the tongue to gather food from the cheek pockets. While extended mealtimes, refusal of certain foods, mumbling, baby talk and speech delay may seem insignificant and just part of having a toddler, they may be due to a tongue tie and should be investigated.
Happy Kids Dental see a lot of parents who want answers and aren’t satisfied by the ‘wait and see’ strategy. This is where their oral surgeon Dr Suraj comes in, who performs laser tongue tie releases for babies and children, working closely with speech therapists, paediatricians and GPs who refer their patients to us. His gentle manner and holistic approach is highly regarded by parents.
For more information or if you think your child may have a tongue tie, book now at happykidsdental.co.uk.
Happy Kids Dental offer specialist paediatric dentist services in-house in two London dental practices in Marylebone and Chelsea, with child-focused dentists who make the visit fun for kids and relaxing for adults. Find out more at happykidsdental.co.uk.