All About Tongue Thrusting in Adults

July 15, 2023

Do you tend to push your tongue against your teeth when swallowing, eating, or even relaxing? Your mouth is often the medium of symptoms warning against underlying issues within your body, and tongue thrusting is among those signs. You may thrust your tongue against the back of your teeth or between the upper and lower arches, which can lead to further issues if not treated. Though it is common in children, what causes tongue thrusting in adults? Learn all about how your body communicates via your tongue-thrusting habit and how an oral health expert can help with the situation!

Causes of Tongue Thrusting in Adults

Tongue thrusting begins in childhood, especially in breastfed or bottle-fed babies, but it resolves as the child grows older. In some cases, prolonged use of a bottle or other factors can lead to an abnormal tongue thrust that may last past the infant stage. Apart from this, tongue thrusting in infancy occurs due to allergies, tongue-tie, thumb-sucking, reverse swallowing, and more. If the tongue thrust is left untreated in childhood, it does not go away, and the affected individual continues to deal with it well into their adulthood.

Sometimes, tongue thrusting develops later in life, but it is not that common. Your facial structure also plays a major role in leading to this habit. An enlarged tongue may thrust against the back of your teeth, pushing them forward. This is an Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder, with the tongue lying too far when at rest and protruding the teeth during speech, swallowing, and at rest.

Signs of Tongue Thrusting in Adults

If you have tongue thrusting as an adult, no matter the cause, there are certain indicators that occur. Some signs are similar to the ones that are prominent in childhood, but new symptoms develop in adulthood. Here are some symptoms of tongue thrusting in adults:

  • The tip of the tongue is visible between teeth
  • Mouth breathing
  • Open bite
  • Eating in a slow, fast, or messy manner (might not be as visible in adulthood)
  • Lisping and other speech impediments
  • Lips do not close completely
  • Elongated facial structure
  • Enlarged tongue
  • Inability to bite through some foods using front teeth, such as lettuce or lunch meat.

Tongue Thrust Treatment for Adults

While there are a number of ways tongue thrusting can be treated in adults, orofacial myology is the best way to eliminate the situation. This therapy involves correcting the placement of lips, jaw, and tongue, which corrects the swallowing habits as well as the open mouth. Here are some other ways to treat tongue thrusting:

  1. Mouth Exercises: Myofunctional therapy is essential and effective for treating tongue thrusts, helping the facial and oral muscles to rest in appropriate, natural positions.
  2. Oral Appliances: Some individuals may benefit from an oral appliance tailored according to their needs, which prevents the tongue from pushing on the teeth.
  3. Behavioral Changes: Younger patients may hold their tongue in a habitual pattern, such as thumb-sucking, pacifier use, or mouth breathing. Exercise and conscious observation can be used to treat tongue thrust.
  4. Orthodontia: Misaligned and crooked teeth are the most common cause of tongue thrust. Treating malocclusion can help eliminate tongue thrusting in children as well as adults.

Opt for Holistic Mouth Solutions!

Tongue thrusting might be common in children, but adults can experience it as well due to a number of causes. It is best to seek immediate dental treatment to correct the structure of your mouth and avoid oral health troubles.

We offer hassle-free, holistic solutions to your issues. Dial (703) 385-6425 now to get in touch with our team at Whole Health Dental Solutions, or give us a visit at 7115 Leesburg Pike Suite 310, Falls Church, VA 22043.

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