Tongue-ties are being diagnosed and treated more frequently thanks to parents who are learning the signs to spot them on social media and from internet searches. While many people are aware that this condition can cause excessive drooling and poor weight gain, some don’t know of the more nuanced flags that a child has a tongue-tie, like what types of foods they may or may not gravitate towards eating. Read on to learn how a tongue-tie may be affecting what foods your little one eats.
The Tongue’s Role in Eating Foods
Because it’s hidden away behind the lips and teeth, tongues often don’t get as much credit as they should for helping complete important tasks that keep people alive—eating food! It has the ability to move the food within the mouth to allow the teeth to help break it down so the body can absorb important nutrients from what’s being eaten. If your child has a tongue-tie, this can limit the movement of the important muscle, causing them to steer clear of certain foods that may be more difficult to eat.
Foods That Can Be Hard to Eat with a Tongue-Tied Child
Just because a child has a tongue-tie doesn’t mean that they can’t use their tongue at all, and this is where it can get tricky. It can appear that they have full control of this oral muscle in moments, but if they can’t create a bowl-shape that allows them to move the food to the back of the mouth or move it side-to-side or up, which helps redirect harder foods to chew towards the molars, it can impact their day-to-day life without you knowing. Without these motions, it can make your child develop a preference for soft and processed foods, make them a messy eater with food often falling out of the mouth, or even cause them to gag while eating.
Identifying Poor Tongue Control
Because the tongue is hidden away in the mouth, it can make identifying that your little one has a tongue-tie extra difficult. Here are common signs that some people may brush off as them being a picky eater, but could actually be pointing to poor tongue control:
- They refuse foods before giving them a chance.
- They will only eat foods with specific texture.
- They will only eat one food group, but not another.
- They will throw non-preferred foods until preferred ones are given to them.
- They store food in their cheeks.
If you notice any of these, it may be time to take your little one to a professional for an examination! Once it’s confirmed that they have a tongue-tie, a quick and simple procedure, called a frenectomy, can be done to help them regain control of their oral muscle and enjoy a wide range of foods that they never could in the past!
About the Author
Dr. Deric Truskoski has a certificate in pediatric dentistry and is passionate about creating a safe, healthy, and positive environment for children to learn about oral health and hygiene in. He takes a connection-based approach to his care and collaborates with parents to provide his young patients with the high-quality, personalized care they deserve. He also uses the latest technology, like the soft tissue laser, to offer fast and pain-free frenectomies for children who are affected by lip or tongue-ties. For questions or to schedule an appointment, visit Chicago Tongue-Tie Center’s website or call 312-248-2455.