Tongue thrust is exhibited when a child demonstrates a reverse swallow pattern of the tongue moving forward through the teeth during swallowing foods, liquids and speech production. A tongue thrust affects speech production and orthodonture/malformed jaw and usually occurs concurrently with an open-mouth posture. Children often will have a history of allergies, enlarged tonsil/adenoids and thumb sucking. A tongue thrust is usually diagnosed by an Orthodontist or during a speech evaluation and/or therapy.
- Open-mouth posture.
- Tongue pushing through the teeth during speech (especially on the "s" and "z" sounds).
- Tongue rests on the bottom lip.
- Tightening of the face and lip muscles during swallowing.
- Eliminate oral habits, such as thumb sucking and prolonged bottle or pacifier use beyond 12 months.
- Management of allergies with medication.
- Consulting an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Physician regarding structural problems (such as enlarged adenoids) contributing to tongue thrust.
- Raise child's awareness of their mouth posture (encourage them to keep their lips closed).
- Chew with the mouth closed.
- Encourage child to place tongue behind upper teeth when at rest.