Tongue tie, also called ankyloglossia, is when the tissue attached to the underside of the tongue and the base of the mouth is very tight, thick, or extends particularly far forward in the mouth. The tongue cannot move freely.
Every tongue is different and some are more attached than others. Tongue tie can be so severe it will seem a tongue is stuck to the floor of the mouth, or so slight that it’s not noticeable unless you checked for it or asked a doctor to check.
Signs and Symptoms of Tongue Tie
Tongue tie is often diagnosed when children have issues with breastfeeding and sucking. Children with tongue tie might slip off the breast or have difficulty latching on. They might make clicking noises and break suction during breastfeeding. If babies are experiencing feeding issues related to tongue tie they might experience delayed weight gain. You might suspect tongue tie if you notice your baby becomes easily frustrated during feeding and feeds for an unusually long amount of time.
If a baby is experiencing difficulty feeding due to tongue tie, mothers might notice they’re producing less milk because they aren’t receiving much stimulation during feeding. Tongue tie issues can make breastfeeding painful and cause nipple tenderness.
It’s never too late to notice an issue and seek a medical opinion and potentially therapy. Therapy can help children with feeding difficulties and noticing an issue is the first step toward improvement that can come from treatment. If you suspect your child has a tongue tie or a feeding difficulty, you should consult your pediatrician, a certified lactation consultant, or a speech-language pathologist.
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