Tongue Tie

7th September, 2022

By Robynann Williams, Speech Pathologist & Orofacial Myologist

How can a tiny string under the tongue impact nursing, swallowing, feeding, speech, posture, cervical, neck and shoulder tensions, teeth grinding, malocclusion, jaw discomfort, poor sleep and possible sleep apnoea? The tongue is said to be the rudder of the spine and the epicentre of development. It is a complex anatomical structure with 8 muscles.

The thin band under the tongue is known as a frenum or frenulum and in recent years it has been discovered to be made of fascia (a type of connective tissue) that had a link throughout the body to the toes via the deep frontline fascia. This does not change over a lifetime.

Initial difficulty may be first noticed with poor latch and breast-feeding though it often goes undiagnosed leading to many mothers feeling like failures as they were unable to breastfeed.

It is also common to have reflux due to incorrect swallowing, middle ear infections and a high arched palate due to incorrect
swallowing in utero. This in turn leads to incorrect tongue placement in the mouth which leads to bite issues and possible speech and eating issues. If the tongue falls back into the airway at night it can lead to snoring and sleep disordered breathing.

If the tongue is unable to move correctly the body will compensate in many ways, particularly the jaw and neck muscles are
overused leading to chronic issues that body work only temporarily relieves. The incorrect position of the tongue will also often lead to a malocclusion leading to dental work including jaw expansion and braces.

In my clinic here at Beyond Self, I work with both children and adults and get referrals from
chiropractors and dentists who are becoming aware of the whole-body connections. The treatment involves a surgical release either by laser or scissors. This can be done at any age from birth until late into adulthood and can have profound effects on the body. The procedure can be performed by a dentist or a surgeon either under a local or general anaesthetic. My role is to diagnose and provide myology (muscle) preparation so that the body is prepared for the changes. Correct swallowing also needs to be taught.

Restoring correct tongue function is critical to good health, both body and mind. If the tongue is resting up in the oral cavity research has shown that it leads to the production of melatonin and serotonin and stimulates the vagus nerve.
Hence, I am passionate about spreading the word.

Robynann’s Clinic Availability
Every Monday, Alternating Tuesday and Fridays.
Contact the Beyond Self, Dee Why for further info

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