Infant Oral Care
At Chestermere Station Pediatric Dentistry, we want to congratulate you on the arrival of your baby! Now is the time to consider infant oral care because you can soon expect the appearance of your baby’s first tooth!
Tongue and lip ties can cause infants difficulty with feeding. They may also contribute to airway difficulties, altered bite (malocclusion), and speech development issues. Ideally, early assessment and treatment can help mothers and their newborns enjoy the amazing bonding experience of breastfeeding, while also decreasing the symptoms of gas and colic in the newborn.
A Tongue Tie is a condition in which the cord of tissue known as the lingual frenum that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth is short/restricted. This causes a reduced range of motion of the tongue. A shortened frenum may cause speech impairment or trouble feeding (either breastfeeding or bottle feeding).
A Lip Tie is the upper lip frenum located under the upper lip, in the center that attaches the lip to the upper gums. When this attachment is low, it can make it more difficult for the baby to latch on during breastfeeding.
Is your child experiencing breastfeeding difficulties? They may be finding it difficult to breastfeed due to a developmental condition called Ankyloglossia. Most commonly referred to as Tongue Tie, ankyloglossia is an abnormality that affects the tissue under the tongue called the lingual frenum.
One of the more obvious symptoms of a tongue-tied infant is the shape of their tongue. An infant with tongue-tie may have a heart-shaped tongue, or the tip of the tongue will look flat, rather than pointy when extended.
Some symptoms to be aware of that may indicate Tongue Tie is:
- The tongue will not extend out past the lips
- The tongue will not touch inside the roof of the mouth
- The infant cannot move their tongue side-to-side towards the corners of the mouth
- There is a distinctive “clicking” sound when breastfeeding
- Fussiness during feeding
- Milk spilling out of the corners of the mouth due to improper latching
- The infant does not seem satisfied after feedings
- Inadequate weight gain for the baby
- When an infant is not able to latch correctly, the mother will experience pain during feedings.
Symptoms mothers might experience due to tongue-tie include:
- A decrease in milk supply
- Extended feeding times
- Re-occurring thrush
- Early weaning of the infant from breastfeeding to being bottle-fed
It is important to note that Tongue Tie does not necessarily impair speech. In fact, it rarely appears to do so. However, many individuals compensate for the shortened lingual frenum by having speech articulation issues, especially when talking fast.
Tongue Ties can affect different sounds that normal tongue movement uses. Sounds such as “t,” “d” and “n,” which use the tongue tip to reach the roof of the mouth, or other sounds such as “l,” “s” and “z,” when the tongue points down. Sounds that use the most tongue movement such as the “th” sound can be affected depending on the severity of your child’s tongue tie.
If you are concerned about the clarity of your child’s speech, we urge you to discuss your needs with Dr. Zuker and his team as there may be other factors affecting your child’s speech and language development.