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Will an Untreated Lip or Tongue Tie Delay My Child’s Speech Development?

September 2, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — lehighvalley @ 6:47 pm
a smiling child visiting their dentist

Of all of life’s early milestones, few are as important or memorable as learning how to speak! Speech allows us to shape our relationships with others and connect with the world, and if we couldn’t talk, things would be much quieter and boring, to say the least. But speech starts at an early age, and unfortunately, there are some challenges that children face when learning to communicate. Among them are tongue and lip ties, conditions that affect the oral tissues inside the mouth that grant us the ability to form words. Continue reading to learn more from your dentist about lip and tongue ties and how they have the potential to impact speech development in children, as well as why professional treatment is an effective answer.

A Closer Look at Lip and Tongue Ties

Inside our mouths, we all have connective tissues that attach our tongues to the bottom of our mouths and our lips to our gums. These tissues, while small and inconspicuous, serve a very important purpose, and if they’re too short, thick, or tight, issues can arise.

If the tissue connecting the lips to the gums is compromised, it’s known as a lip tie, while if the tissue connecting the tongue to the mouth is affected, it’s referred to as a tongue tie. These conditions are fairly common today, with around 4% of all newborns experiencing the issue.

The restrictions caused by lip and tongue ties affect various functions, but most notably an infant’s ability to successfully breastfeed. It’s also possible for dental development to experience setbacks, as well as speech development.

How These Issues Impact Speech

It goes without saying that having a limited range of motion in your tongue and lips can greatly influence your speech patterns, and the effect is even more dramatic in children. If your kiddo isn’t able to properly orient their tongue or lips, they won’t be able to make certain sounds. Lip and tongue ties can make it difficult to raise and lower your tongue, purse your lips, or control airflow, all of which can result in mild to moderate mispronunciations.

Even worse, inhibited speech can have significant social and emotional consequences. For instance, your child might become frustrated due to not being able to effectively communicate with their peers, leading to lowered self-esteem and isolation. It can also impact their academic prowess later on; while it won’t necessarily affect their comprehension of language, it will impede their ability to communicate ideas or express themselves when they’re having problems.

Why Professional Treatment Is Recommended

If your little one is exhibiting signs of delayed speech development that can be traced to a tongue or lip tie, early diagnosis and intervention are key. Speech therapy has its usefulness, especially as children grow older and become more sociable, but ultimately, treatment of the tongue/lip tie is what will resolve the issue and set your child up to speak with ease.

In some cases, a simple procedure known as a frenectomy can be performed to release the tongue or lip tie and restore proper function. This common procedure is quick and virtually risk-free, thanks to advanced dental technology, making it the go-to option for lip and tongue tie treatment.  

About the Author

Dr. N. Garcia-DeMartino received her DMD from Fairleigh Dickenson University and has proudly served families in the Phillipsburg, NJ area for several years. Her practice is pleased to offer a wide range of services including treatments for lip and tongue ties. If you have any questions about the blog or you’d like to arrange a visit for your little one, feel free to contact the practice online or over the phone for additional information or assistance. Telephone: (908) 840-8399.

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