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Infant Acid Reflux? A Tongue Tie May Be to Blame

May 6, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — lehighvalley @ 3:15 pm
closeup of an infant’s mouth for infant acid reflux

When you have an infant, you’re bound to deal with messes. Little spit ups and even throw up once in a while are nothing to worry about, but if your baby is projectile vomiting for multiple feedings per day, it can become frustrating for both of you. Not only can your infant not get the full nutrition they need, but it can leave you both cranky over wasted breastmilk or formula due to acid reflux.

At first, your doctor may suggest cutting out certain foods from your diet or another type of formula to see if it could be a food sensitivity. You may also try inclining your baby to help them keep food down and not be as fussy. However, infant acid reflux can have various underlying causes, and you may be surprised to learn that a tongue tie is one of them. How can an issue with the tongue lead to this problem? And what can be done about it? Keep reading to find out!

What a Tongue Tie Is

Before we get into the specifics, it may be helpful to clarify exactly what a tongue tie actually looks like. This term is used to refer to excessively thick, short, or restrictive tissue that’s underneath the tongue. For most babies, this tissue dissolves before birth, but some continue to have it afterward.

Unfortunately, a tongue tie doesn’t allow the infant to latch on properly, often leading to problems with breastfeeding, sore nipples for nursing parents, and failure to gain weight. However, even those babies who are bottle fed can still struggle because of a tongue tie.

How a Tongue Tie May Be Linked to Infant Acid Reflux

In addition to other symptoms, babies with a tongue tie may also have an increased risk of acid reflux. When the tongue doesn’t create a perfect seal, large pockets of air are swallowed. As a result, this air can bubble up from the stomach, carrying with it the food they just consumed. Research seems to back this theory up with multiple studies that showed improvement for babies with reflux after a tongue tie release.

How a Tongue Tie Is Treated

If your baby has a restrictive tongue tie, it needs to be removed through a procedure called a frenectomy. At some practices, this treatment entails using a scalpel and sutures; however, other dental practices take advantage of laser technology to sever the excess tissue more delicately. Basically, the concentrated beam gently separates the tongue tie with minimal bleeding or discomfort, instantly enabling the infant to have more range of motion for the tongue.

When a little one struggles with acid reflux, it is worth checking to see if they have a tongue tie. This quick, simple procedure can completely change feedings for you and your infant, giving you both a more satisfying experience and allowing your baby to grow and develop as they should.

About the Author

Dr. Garcia-DeMartino has been practicing dentistry for nearly 35 years. Starting in 2003, she has dedicated her continuing education coursework to laser procedures like frenectomies to address tongue ties as well as other soft and hard tissue problems. If you think your baby may have a tongue tie, you can contact our Phillipsburg office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Garcia-DeMartino by calling 908-859-5260 or visiting our Contact Us page.

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