Tongue Thrust and Treatment (Facts)

Tongue thrust is a common issue and is linked to orthodontics. Children who have this issue will eventually get ‘Open Bite.’ In this post, we’ll show you the basics of tongue thrust and why you should correct it before dental issues occur.

Tongue Thrust, What’s that?

A tongue thrust is the leading cause of open bite in adults. This position can lead to jaw misalignment, tooth decay and even speech difficulties because it limits your ability for a proper oral closure which will ultimately affect swallow quality as well as how food moves through our digestive system when we eat properly.

The reason why so many people have this issue? A little muscle called Transverse Palate Muscle (TPM) controls where our tongues land during chewing.

How Will I Know I have it?

  • A person who has a visible tongue between their teeth appears to be thrusting it out when they talk or swallow. This condition is most often seen during these activities, but can also happen at all times.
  • You may breathe through your mouth. This happens with an inability to close your lips completely. 
  • An open bite is what occurs when the front teeth don’t meet. This often results in lisping, which can make it difficult for people to pronounce certain letters such as s and z correctly.

Orthodontic Appliances Can Help

Orthodontic appliances treat both children and adults. The position of teeth, mouth structures or jawbones can be adjusted for patients with an open bite. It does this by moving the jaw into a better position.

Speech Therapist

A speech therapist or orofacial mycologist may be able to help. These are experts and they fit custom-made tongue thrust appliances. The position of your tongue and jaw development will improve and after a while, you can have them removed. 

DIY Remedy

The lifesaver provides a way to distract your child from sticking out their tongue in moments when it’s not needed, such as eating and breathing. It is important that you teach children how to control themselves, in general, most kids figure things out on their own before kindergarten.

More Serious Issues 

A fixed appliance that can’t be removed may be what is needed to bring the issue to a close. This should only be done by an expert and only when all other means are exhausted. 

Speech therapy requires nine weeks of in-class time and six months of follow-up. It is a hard journey and will test you as a parent. However, these requirements ensure success in quitting the habit.  

Every day during speech sessions where you can help them practice doing well without any distractions like talking back to parents, siblings are essential. Habits are hard to break from so early intervention really pays off here. 

It’s important never underestimate how much power words have on shaping our future selves; a young child does not possess mature reasoning skills yet but still understands what people say very clearly.

If you want to see a child succeed in life, it is important that they receive treatment from an expert during these few years between ages three and thirteen. 


Tongue thrust is common and a good oral expert will know how to deal with it. If you maintain good oral health techniques, it’s likely that your smile will become perfect. 

Whether you want to get full orthodontic perfection or to address issues such as tongue thrust, we can advise you. Get in touch with our orthodontic office today to schedule your first appointment with Dr. McDermott.