Fact or Fiction, Tongue Tie Edition

No doubt you’ve heard many different opinions on tongue ties. But, what gives? What is true and what isn’t?

Here is Fact or Fiction, Tongue Tie Edition:

  • If you can stick out your tongue, it’s not tied… FICTION, tongue ties are diagnosed based on structure AND function.
  • If you can see a “string” under the tongue, there is a tie… FICTION, every tongue has a frenulum (string) under the tongue. We are looking to see how rigid or flexible it is and how well the tongue functions.
  • A tongue tie can be diagnosed by looking at a picture…FICTION, never, ever take a diagnosis from someone on the internet who only looked at a picture of a frenulum and diagnosed it as a tie. 
  • Tongue ties are hereditary…FACT, tongue ties do run in families, but you don’t have to have a parent with a tie in order to be diagnosed with one yourself.
  • If you suspect a tongue tie, you should see a release provider first…FICTION, we want to see a Feeding Therapist (ages 0-4) or Myofunctional Therapist (ages 4-Adult) first!
  • Reflux and colic in an infant may be a sign of a tongue tie…FACT, many time infants are swallowing AIR leading to air-induced reflux and colic due to a tongue tie.
  • Chronic neck tension, headaches, and TMD are often related to tongue ties…FACT, our fascia is connected from the tip of our tongue to our toes. If we are tongue tied, you better believe we may experience pain in our neck, jaw, and have headaches!
  • An untreated tongue tie can lead to sleep apnea… FACT, be sure to get a myofunctional assessment if you have sleep apnea! They are a valuable member of the team and may also make other appropriate referrals to get you the help needed.
  • ADHD can often be linked to tongue ties and sleep disordered breathing…FACT, if we aren’t getting QUALITY sleep at night, and we don’t if we have a tongue tie and airway issues, then concentration, focus, and energy levels will be skewed throughout the day!
  • Body work and feeding therapy aren’t needed in infants with tongue ties because they are too young to display tension in the body…FICTION, we need to optimize oral motor function and release any bodily tension for optimal results. If we skip this step it’s the equivalent of getting a knee replacement and attempting to run a 5k without physical therapy!
  • Breast feeding doesn’t hurt so baby can’t have a tongue tie…FICTION, sometimes tongue ties lead to oral motor weakness and it doens’t hurt to breast feed but there are other compensatory muscle patterns occurring that lead to a diagnosis of a tongue tie.
  • It’s only a “mild” tongue tie…FICTION, there is NO such thing as a mild tongue tie. You either have a tongue tie and it IS impacting function negatively or you don’t have one!
  • Tongue ties can stretch…FICTION, a true tongue tie can not stretch. If there is tension in the body that is mimicking a tongue tie, body work can release the tension and give the tongue a greater range of motion. This is why if we see tension in the body, we will always recommend body work.  However, a true tongue tie can not be stretched.

Hope you are leaving this blog post with only the facts, none of the fiction, we educate to empower you on your airway journey.