Enlarged Tonsils and TOTs

tongue ties and enlarged tonsils

Do tongue ties cause enlarged tonsils? 

Which came first? The chicken or the egg? 

It may be more like a domino effect. Tongue ties contribute to mouth breathing, mouth breathing contributes to enlarged tonsils. 

Or what if tonsils became enlarged before other symptoms were present? It still promotes mouth breathing to try and provide more oxygen to the body as the airway becomes narrower due to the enlarged tonsils. Mouth breathing can lead to a lengthening of the facial structure and a narrowing of the jaw/palate.

Can we say for certain, which came first in each case? No, not with certainty, but we do know tongue ties and enlarged tonsils often go hand in hand

Does every child with enlarged tonsils have a tongue tie? Certainly not – but it should prompt further evaluation from your provider rather than only evaluating the tonsils, there should be a functional assessment to determine if a tongue tie is present.

If we see enlarged tonsils and we have concerns there may be a tongue tie at play, other symptoms to look for that often indicate there is a tongue tie are:

Infant symptoms:

  • Colicky/gassy
  • Difficulty latching onto breast or bottle
  • Leaking milk during feeds
  • Poor sleep
  • Long feeding durations
  • Painful latch
  • Clicking noises when eating

Older children/adult symptoms:

  • Poor sleep
  • ADHD symptoms
  • Picky eating
  • Choking/gagging on foods
  • Snoring, grinding teeth at night
  • TMJ
  • Frequent headaches/neck pain
  • Thumb/finger sucking
  • Slow eating
  • Speech delay

Tongue ties don’t occur in a vacuum and neither do enlarged tonsils. When we see enlargement of the tonsils, we should always advocate for further screening to rule out a tongue tie as a contributing factor if we want to get to the root and see the whole picture.