My Myo Matters

Tongue thrust

In the battle between the teeth and the tongue – the tongue always wins!  

Before we get into why the resting position of the tongue is so important to OMT therapists it is important to understand that the tongue should rest on the roof of your mouth.

 

If the tongue sits forward or on the floor of your mouth, you could be doing more damage than you realise.

Tongue thrust or low tongue posture

Tongue thrusting is a habitual problem where your tongue gently pushes to the front or side of your mouth, often causing major dental or speech problems. The tongue thrust makes your teeth move apart and can result in an anterior (front) or posterior (back) open bite so that your top and bottom teeth cannot touch. It may also result in an overjet where the top teeth protrude over the bottom. Low tongue posture is where the tongue rests on the floor or in the middle of your mouth.

What causes a tongue thrust?

There are multiple causes of a tongue thrust. These include:

  • Persistent thumb sucking or dummy use: This causes the tongue to move down and forward at rest;
  • Habit: Sometimes through thumb sucking or a repetitive chewing motion we can develop a tongue thrust by force of habit; 
  • Tongue tie: See our page on Tongue Ties for more information about how a tongue tie can lead to a tongue thrust. 

How do I know I have a problem?

There are a few clues that your tongue posture needs correcting.

 

  • Your mouth is open at rest with your lips apart and you habitually breathe through your mouth;
  • You may also have developed some thumb sucking habits;
  • You are continually at the dentist because your teeth move even after treatment (orthodontic relapse);
  • You notice that your tongue moves forward when you are chewing and swallowing food;
  • You may have developed a frontal ‘lisp’ when you are talking.

How can OMT help?

Seeking the help of an OMT therapist will train your tongue to sit on the roof of your mouth just behind the front teeth, with your lips sealed, teeth closed, breathing through your nose and adopting a correct swallow pattern. This involves daily, non-invasive exercises to retrain and strengthen your muscles to adopt a correct resting tongue posture.


An OMT can work in conjunction with your orthodontist or speech therapist to correct the symptoms of the tongue thrust, and resolve the underlying cause.