Your tongue should naturally rest in the top of your mouth, however, when your mouth is open it rests in the bottom. This leads to underdeveloped oral musculature, and can cause problems with speech, swallowing, breathing and chewing. When the tongue rests low in the mouth, it must push forward to swallow – this is called a tongue thrust.
Do I Have a Tongue Thrust?
Below are the most common signs to determine if you, or your child, have a tongue thrust:
- Mouth breathing is the most obvious sign – the mouth is open at rest, and the tongue is often forward or sticking out.
- Speech concerns, especially lisping, can be a sign, as are general problems with articulation, rate of speech, and vocal quality.
- Sucking habits, especially thumb sucking, can cause a tongue thrust to occur. When the thumb is constantly in the mouth, the swallowing pattern of the tongue develops incorrectly. It is important to realize that even when the sucking habit has stopped, the condition usually still remains.