Facebook Pixel

Tongue-Tie: A Potential Speech Problem, Not a Social Stumbling Block

By HERWriter
Rate This

You’ve probably heard the phrase tongue-tied to describe that feeling we all get when we just can’t get the words out. What you may not know is that tongue-tied is an actual medical condition that limits the mobility of the tongue, which can cause serious eating and speech problems for some people.

What is tongue-tie?
Before we are born, everyone has a strong cord of tissue in the center of the mouth that helps guide the development of all the structures in the mouth. This tissue is called the frenulum. After we are born, the lingual frenulum on the underside of the tongue continues to help guide the teeth into the correct positions. As we grow, this frenulum usually thins and recedes so the tongue has full motion. But in some cases, the frenulum is too tight or does not recede enough, which can limit how much the tongue is able to move. This is the condition known as tongue-tie or ankyloglossia.

Symptoms of tongue-tie
The tongue is one of the most important muscles we have when it comes to speaking and swallowing. For some people with mild tongue-tie, there are no serious consequences from the condition. But others who have very limited mobility in their tongues may need to have the condition treated.

A new baby with tongue-tie may have trouble sucking and may not gain weight as fast as expected. Some nursing mothers of a baby with tongue-tie may notice they are experiencing significant pain while nursing, or that the baby seems to have trouble latching on. If you are concerned that your baby may have this condition, talk to your pediatrician. You may be referred to an otolaryngologist, which is a doctor who specializes in ear, nose, and throat conditions.

Toddlers and older children:
Some children with tongue-tie are able to adapt and speak normally. Others develop a speech impediment and may have difficulty with specific sounds including l, r, t, d, n, th, sh, and z. If at least half of your three-year-old child’s speech cannot be understood by people outside the family, talk to your pediatrician to see if the child needs further evaluation.

Add a Comment2 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Thanks for the link, anonymous.

January 10, 2010 - 9:37am
EmpowHER Guest

I found an interactive software which helps to improve speech delayed problems and help build vocabulary on toddlers and young children with special needs. SeeMe SPEECH COACH has been very effective in the learning process of the children.
I hope you give it a try and share it with others too.
website: http://www.seemetutor.com/

January 10, 2010 - 2:18am
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy
Add a Comment

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Dental & Oral Health

Get Email Updates

Dental & Oral Health Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!