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Tongue Thrusting: A Symptom of Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder and the Efficacy of Myofunctional Therapy

MyoCorrect Tongue Thrusting

Tongue thrusting, the habitual pushing of the tongue against or between the teeth, is a common symptom associated with Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMDs). This article explores the nature of tongue thrusting within the framework of OMDs, its potential impacts on oral health and development, and how myofunctional therapy can serve as an effective intervention.

Understanding Tongue Thrusting in OMD

Tongue thrusting is often identified as an abnormal swallowing pattern where the tongue presses too far forward. It can also occur during speaking or at rest. This condition is typically a symptom of underlying OMDs, which involve dysfunction in the muscles and functions of the face and mouth. Factors leading to tongue thrusting include:

  1. Habitual Behavior: Often developed in childhood, sometimes as a continuation of normal infant swallowing patterns.
  2. Structural Anomalies: Issues like a large tongue or small mouth can contribute to this condition.
  3. Allergies or Nasal Obstructions: These can lead to mouth breathing, which can, in turn, lead to or exacerbate tongue thrusting.
  4. Thumb Sucking or Prolonged Pacifier Use: Such habits can impact the development of oral structures and lead to tongue thrusting.

Implications of Tongue Thrusting

The impact of persistent tongue thrusting is significant, encompassing:

  1. Dental Issues: It can lead to misalignment of teeth, orthodontic problems, and even change the shape of the face.
  2. Speech Difficulties: It may cause lisping or difficulty articulating certain sounds.
  3. Swallowing Problems: Abnormal swallowing patterns can be inefficient and uncomfortable.
  4. Social and Emotional Effects: Self-consciousness about dental appearance or speech can impact self-esteem and social interactions.

MyoCorrect Myofunctional Therapy as a Solution

MyoCorrect Myofunctional therapy by Vivos provides a targeted approach to correct tongue thrusting. This therapy involves exercises designed to retrain the muscles of the tongue and orofacial region. The primary goals are:

  1. Tongue Positioning: Teaching the tongue to rest correctly at the roof of the mouth, away from the teeth.
  2. Strengthening Orofacial Muscles: Enhancing the tone and function of the muscles to support proper swallowing and speech patterns.
  3. Correcting Swallowing Patterns: Training in proper swallowing techniques to eliminate the forward thrust of the tongue.
  4. Behavior Modification: Addressing habits that contribute to tongue thrusting, such as thumb sucking.

Tongue thrusting is a significant symptom in the spectrum of Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders. It poses various challenges, including dental malocclusion, speech difficulties, and social impacts. Myofunctional therapy offers a focused, non-invasive intervention, addressing the underlying causes of tongue thrusting through exercises, habit retraining, and behavior modification. By improving the function and coordination of orofacial muscles, individuals suffering from this condition can achieve better oral health, clearer speech, and enhanced overall wellbeing.