Tongue Thrust and Treatment

Orthodontic problems like open bite can happen if you have a tongue thrust. This condition can affect anyone of any age but children are more likely as tongue thrust begins in childhood. In this post, we’ll take you through why correcting tongue thrust is important. Let’s get going.

What is Tongue Thrust Anyway?

Orthodontic problems like open bite can happen if you have a tongue thrust. This is because the way your mouth closes during swallowing pushes your tongue forward between upper and lower teeth instead of down to the floor of the mouth, which causes an improper oral closure that leads to jaw misalignment among other issues.

How Can I Tell I Have it?

A visible tongue between the teeth indicates that a person exhibits signs of having a “tongue thrust.” This condition is most often seen when someone swallows or talks, but can also be present at all times.

Mouth breathing. This will happen when there’s an inability to close lips completely. If in doubt check the mirror and use your hand.

An open bite. This is where the front teeth don’t meet when your mouth closes. Speech problems like lisping occur. Which means saying “s” and “z” without being able to pronounce some letters.

Can Orthodontic Treatment Help?

Orthodontic devices can be used to treat both children and adults who suffer from tongue thrust. These appliances adjust the position of teeth, mouth structures, or jawbones to improve function and aesthetics for patients with oral problems such as an open bite.

What Are The Alternatives?

Your doctor may refer you to a speech therapist or orofacial mycologist, who can help fit your custom-made tongue thrust appliance. This device will help train the position of your tongue and support healthy jaw development.

Home Remedies to Help

When your child shows signs of tongue thrust, place a sugar-free lifesaver on the tip of their tongue to distract them from poking out their tongue further than usual during periods where it’s not needed, such as while eating and breathing. 

It also provides two additional methods which parents might consider trying if using sugary candy doesn’t work well with younger infants. 

More Serious Cases

If your child’s tongue thrusting is serious, they might need to wear a fixed appliance that can’t be removed.

Speech Therapy can be difficult for children, especially because the program is nine weeks long and requires six months of follow-up. However, this ensures that kids will be able to successfully quit their habit since they are given enough time to practice it every day during therapy sessions.

It is important to catch speech impediments early because once habits start it becomes increasingly difficult to break them. Speech therapy starts at age 3 or 4 and ends by 12-13 when their voice changes due to puberty. 

This means that the sooner you notice a child’s difficulty speaking properly during this stage, the better everything will turn out later on down the road for them if they have been receiving treatment from an expert in those few years between ages of three and thirteen.


Tongue thrust treatment will vary from patient to patient. It can depend on the cause or severity of a case. Visit us and find out what treatment is best for you.

Dr. Adam Schulhof is the founder and medical director of the Schulhof Center for Cosmetic Orthodontics in New Jersey. Dr. Schulhof graduated with high honours from The University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey.

Call the doctor today to schedule an appointment to see if your gaps need correcting and how.