Q: How do I know if my child has a tongue tie and what should I do about it?
A tongue tie is a membrane situated underneath the tongue, tethering the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth. Tongue tie can run in families and is more likely in boys. If severe, the baby may have reduced ability to move their tongue from side to side, touch the roof of their mouth and in extreme situations, result in difficulties latching when breastfeeding.
Fortunately the large majority of tongue ties do not cause any significant restriction to tongue movement. As your child grows this membrane often stretches and the restriction diminishes.
In rare cases however, the restricted movement of the tongue may necessitate separating the tight mucous tether, utilising a simple anaesthetic-free procedure called a frenotomy. Babies with feeding issues seemingly related to a tongue-tie should be assessed by a lactation consultant, while older children should see a speech pathologist. Referral to a paediatrician is often helpful in confirming the need for intervention.
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Any advice given is general in nature and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice and must not be relied upon as such. For any healthcare advice, always consult a healthcare practitioner.