Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village and Agoura Hills, CA
Picky eating among children is certainly nothing out of the ordinary. However, for some children, their picky eating habits could mean something more serious. In some instances, the child may be battling food allergies, be deficient in certain vitamins or minerals, as well we have an intolerance to certain foods. While these culprits are usually easy to identify, an undiagnosed tongue-tie is not, and it could be the reason for your child’s picky eating.
Your Agoura Hills dentists at Integrative Dental Arts wants to share with you some information about tongue-ties, why it is important to have your child checked, and what can be done to remedy the issue.
What is a tongue-tie?
Also known as ankyloglossia, a tongue-tie refers to a restricted frenum, the thin string of tissue that connects the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth. A tongue-tie can make the tip of the tongue appear forked, or heart-shaped due to the tissue pulling on the underside of the tongue.
Symptoms of a Tongue-tie
Identifying a tongue-tie in your child may be difficult, although there are certain symptoms you can watch out for to determine if your child should be evaluated by the dentist or not. When in doubt, have a dentist check out your child’s oral health and assess his or her tongue for a possible restricted frenum. Better to be safe than sorry!
If your child has a tongue-tie, mouth breathing may be prevalent, as well as forward tongue thrust or uncomfortable swallowing patterns. Sometimes, a child may even gag while eating certain types of foods, which might be why parents associate this behavior with picky eating.
A tongue-tie can result in straining the surround musculature such as the neck, jaw, shoulders, and head. This results because the tongue muscle is restrictive, which leads to tension and fatigue in the surrounding muscles. Because of its effects, children may resort to eating smaller portions, making them hungry more often, and may have difficulty chewing foods such as raw crunchy vegetables or tougher cuts of meat. Also, you may notice that your child swallows food fast, without chewing each bite thoroughly.
If your child exhibits any of these behaviors or you just want to be sure that your child is in the clear, get them checked. Ignoring a tongue-tie can result in an increased risk of developmental issues of the jaw, skull, and teeth, as well as speech impediments, TMJ, and sleep apnea. Instead of allowing your child to live with these perils, a simple laser procedure called a frenectomy can remedy a tongue-tie in less than a minute.
Treating a Tongue-tie
Laser dentistry makes releasing a tongue-tie simple, and easy. Plus, there is minimal bleeding or discomfort afterward. Following a frenectomy, we urge your child to partake in prescribed exercises to help strengthen their weak oral muscles that have adapted to negative behaviors as a result of their tongue-tie. These exercises are known as myofunctional therapy and are simple and painless to complete.
Frenectomies in Agoura Hills
To learn more about the effects of an untreated tongue-tie or schedule an evaluation for a frenectomy, please contact Integrative Dental Arts by calling us at (818) 889-0400. We welcome patients of Agoura Hills and Westlake Village in Southern California.