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How Lip and Tongue Ties Can Affect Your Child’s Transition to Solid Foods

May 3, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — lehighvalley @ 6:06 pm
a small infant eating an apple

The transition from bottle-feeding to solid foods is quite a milestone for your child, and you might be pretty eager to see your little one start trying out all of the new foods they’ll have access to! However, did you know that an unresolved tongue or lip tie can make things quite difficult for your child? Here’s more from your trusted pediatric dentist about these issues and their impact on feeding, along with how things can be resolved.

How Tongue and Lip Ties Affect Your Child’s Diet

Tongue and lip ties occur when the frenulum, or the piece of soft tissue that connects the tongue to the lower jaw, is restricting normal oral functionality. It’s a condition that occurs in around 5% of all children. These issues can cause a variety of complications, including inhibition of speech and dental development, but most obviously, it can affect the ability to properly eat.

For instance, many children with a tongue or lip tie encounter difficulties with breastfeeding, or even sucking on a pacifier, due to their limited tongue movement. During nursing sessions, your child might be unable to maintain a proper latch, which can also cause your own personal discomfort. This unfortunately causes parents to sometimes shift to bottle-feeding too quickly, which can result in the issue remaining unaddressed until solid foods are introduced.

Since foods that need to be chewed before being swallowed rely on the teeth and tongue working in unison, if your child cannot move their tongue as normal, they won’t be able to properly chew and swallow their food! This isn’t just a choking hazard for your child; it can also cause indigestion and malnutrition, among other problems.

How Resolving the Issue Can Improve Eating Difficulties

The good news is that tongue and lip ties can easily be addressed thanks to advancements in dental technology, and by doing so, you can improve your child’s ability to eat and drastically limit the frequency of problems they’d experience due to the issue.

A frenectomy is the go-to procedure for this; wielding a special laser tool, your dentist can carefully remove any excess oral tissue and reshape the frenulum as needed. This process is incredibly comfortable and straightforward, and often only a topical anesthetic is needed. Once the tie has been resolved, your child will immediately have more oral mobility and flexibility, which will in turn allow them to easily eat to their heart’s content!

About the Author

Dr. N. Garcia-DeMartino received her DMD from Fairleigh Dickinson University and has proudly served patients and families in the Phillipsburg, NJ area for several years! Her practice specializes in addressing lip and tongue-tie-related issues for patients of all ages and walks of life. If you have any questions about the blog or you need to arrange a visit for you or someone close to you, feel free to contact Dr. Garcia-DeMartino through her practice’s website or by telephone: (908) 859-5260.

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