Tongue thrusting 101: How a tongue trainer can help!

Ever wondered how you got that gap between your upper and lower teeth and why your front teeth angle forward? It may be because of a bad habit called tongue thrusting or tongue rubbing. It’s just how it sounds — you either consciously or subconsciously thrust your tongue against your front teeth. Over time, this pushes them forward and spreads them out, causing a bad bite and a gap. This habit can result from poor swallowing or talking habits or medical issues. But don’t worry — Hodges Orthodontics can help!

We have appliances and exercises designed to break your tongue-thrusting habit. We also can provide orthodontic treatment with braces or Invisalign® that can realign your teeth and give you an amazing smile. Once your bite is fixed, you’ll find biting and chewing easier. You may also find it easier to talk and swallow. While tongue thrusting is best addressed in children, we can also help adult patients.

What is a tongue thrust habit?

You’re probably wondering how someone would develop a tongue-thrust habit. It usually develops in infants, and it’s fairly normal. You’ve seen babies pushing their tongues forward when they want to eat, right? Most of the time, this habit disappears as the child gets older and stops using pacifiers and bottles.

Why would someone develop tongue thrusting? One way may be because the child stays on the bottle or pacifier too long. Thumbsucking can also lead to tongue thrust. If your child has not stopped these habits by age 2, they may begin rubbing their tongue on their teeth.

If you rub your tongue against your teeth at an early age, there’s a good chance it will continue until adulthood unless it’s treated. Tongue thrusting can cause more than just a bad bite. It can cause speech impediments, breathing problems, and chronic swelling of the adenoids or tonsils.

How to stop rubbing tongue on teeth

So how do you break this bad habit of rubbing your tongue against your teeth? Hodges Orthodontics can use tongue trainer orthodontics appliances to help you break the habit. Sometimes called tongue tamers or tongue spikes, they teach your tongue to sit further back in your mouth and off your teeth. It’s not as bad as it sounds! We can also use a tongue crib, which holds the tongue into place and teaches it to stay off the teeth. It also keeps you from constantly pressing your tongue to the roof of your mouth.

Tongue spike braces, or tongue tamer braces, look like little braces brackets. Instead of going on the front of the teeth, they are bonded to the back of your teeth. They remind you to keep your tongue off your teeth, training your tongue to stay in its proper place.

A tongue crib is a little “basket” connected by wires to the back teeth. The tip of the tongue sits in the basket and stays away from the back of the teeth. As with the tongue spikes, the tongue crib trains the tongue to stay where it’s supposed to be and not lay against the back of the teeth.

Tongue trainer orthodontics in Tupelo

Tongue rubbing or tongue thrusting can be a hard habit to break, but it can be broken with the help of your local orthodontist! If you are in the Tupelo, MS, area,  schedule a free consultation with Hodges Orthodontics to find out how we can break your habit.

Patients can learn about the best options for orthodontic treatment to repair their bite damaged by years of tongue rubbing. Our tongue tamers can break your habit, and our braces or Invisalign treatment can give you the smile of your dreams!