Did you know that your palate aka roof of the mouth is the “parking spot” for your tongue!
Why is this important you ask? The tongues ability to “park” in roof of the mouth is ideal for nasal and oral function. It allows us to breathe easily through our nose while keeping our mouth closed. It also helps eliminate the potential for mouth breathing, snoring, grinding and apnea during sleep.
What causes the tongue from not being able to “park” in the roof of the mouth?
In order for the tongue to comfortably rest in the roof of the mouth a few things need to come together:
1. The roof of the mouth has to be big enough to accommodate the tongue
2. The tongue has to have enough range of motion to reach the roof of the mouth
What causes these things not to happen?
1. A prolonged sucking habit (thumb, paci, fingers) can cause the roof of the mouth to narrow and under develop. Making the roof of the mouth too small for the tongue to fit comfortably.
2. Limited tongue mobility caused either by low muscle tone or a tongue tie can limit the tongues ability to reach the roof of the mouth
How would I know if my child’s tongue is not “parked” in the roof of their mouth?
There are several signs to looks for:
1. Open mouth posture –if your child has his/her mouth is open during the day or night, then they are likely breathing through their mouth not their nose
2. Snoring, grinding or gasping for air during sleep
3. Upper front teeth that are interfering with closing of the lips
4. Back teeth develop a crossbite
How can we teach a child to “park” their tongue in the right place?
Identifying the cause is going to guide treatment.
1. If the roof of the mouth is too narrow, then a mouth trainer such as a myobrace or can help spread it out while retraining the tongue where to “park” or a fixed expander can help spread the upper jaw out.
2. If the tongue is limited in motion, then myofunctional therapy and/or a frenectomy may be helpful.
Have more questions? Call to setup a consultation with Dr. Gandhi!