Reverse swallow & Tongue Thrusting

A Tongue Thrust occurs when the tongue is seen pushing either forwards or sideways against the teeth

What is a Tongue Trust

Tongue Thrusting & reverse swallowA Tongue Thrust occurs when the tongue is seen pushing either forwards or sideways against the teeth, or pushing between the front or side (back) teeth while at rest or during swallow.

The tongue is the most powerful muscle in the body, and its outward pushing force can exert a lot of pressure against the teeth and move them out of alignment. This can cause the teeth to become crooked or mal-aligned resulting in a “bad-bite” or malocclusion.

There are many types of tongue thrust, all of which result in bite problems:

The most common types are listed below:

Anterior Tongue Thrust:

Anterior Tongue ThrustThis is a very common type of tongue thrust. The tongue pushes forward between, and sometimes beyond the front teeth. The mouth is generally open, the person finds it difficult to seal the lips, and very often they become habitual mouth breathers due to the low posture of the tongue.

Unilateral Tongue Thrust:

The tongue tends to thrust out on one side only (Uni), thus preventing the teeth from meeting or occluding correctly on that side.

Bi-lateral Tongue Thrust

Bi-lateral Tongue Thrust:

The tongue thrusts out on both sides (Bi) and the posterior teeth are open as far back as the molars. The anterior bite is closed.

What Problems Will A Tongue Thrust Create?

We generally use our tongue to speak, and to swallow food. While at rest, the tongue should occupy the roof of the mouth at all times. If the tongue is not working efficiently many problems can present such as:

  • Speech Problems (see section on speech Problems)
  • The teeth become Crooked or Crowded
  • Orthodontic treatment can be slowed down
  • Orthodontic treatment can relapse
  • Temporomandibular problems
  • Periodontal problems due to mouth-breathing habit
  • Bad table manners!

Treatment for Tongue Thrust

Myofunctional Therapy

  • This involves retraining the patient to alter their swallowing pattern.
  • It is a specialised remedial program designed to modify and correct the Tongue Thrust through a series of specific exercises.
  • We are the only Practice in the country currently addressing, modifying, and correcting destructive oral habits using Myofunctional Therapy.

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