Tongue Tie In Children: How It Can Affect Feeding and Speech

Tongue tie is a condition that affects about five percent of all newborns. When an infant presents this condition, they will have limited range of motion in their tongue, and they will have issues with eating, speaking when they are older, and even making proper sounds as a baby. In this article, we are going to tell you more about tongue-tie in children, how it can affect feeding and speech, and we will talk to you more about treatment options and when is the right time to consider frenuloplasty.

Complications that can come out of it


There are many issues that can come out of this condition, and if it is not treated, it will stay with the person for their whole life and it will cause issues in their adult life as well.

This condition can affect the infant from the youngest age, and babies will have problems breastfeeding and it will cause problems for the mom and the baby as well. Since the child will not be able to latch onto the nipple properly, it will cause a lot of pain for the mom, and the baby will not be able to properly get the milk from the breast. This can lead to malnutrition among other problems.

As the child grows, when they are supposed to start developing and talking, with this condition, first and foremost, the oral development will get impaired, and they will not be able to start forming words, sounds, and even sentences. There are many other sounds that the child will not be able to make and with time, even recognize. This will all affect their further life, and as we already know, the earlier a problem is addressed, the less impact it is going to have on the future.

Keep in mind that as the child develops, with tongue tie, you won’t be able to properly brush their teeth, and there is going to be food stuck between their teeth which will cause severe problems and infections.

The issues that come out of poor oral hygiene will additionally impact the feeding process as well as the speech since the child is going to experience pain and discomfort that will prevent them from even trying to speak or eat, no matter if they are used to solids or are still breastfeeding.

There are many other problems that are going to arise from this condition, and even simple tasks such as licking a lollipop and even an ice cream cone will not be possible for kids that have this condition.

No matter if we are talking about the basic human needs like getting the proper food that we need to develop, or enjoying a simple activity like having ice cream in the summer, all of these things are going to be difficult and even impossible with the condition. Because of it, parents whose children have been diagnosed with tongue tie need to react as quickly as possible.

When can it be treated?


Many parents are wondering when they can address this issue and what is the right time to start treatment for tongue tie. We never want to make a decision that could potentially damage our children’s future by acting too early, and at the same time, we don’t want to wait for too long and have issues that won’t be able to get past because we didn’t react on time.

Singapore based otolaryngologists Dr Jeeve, Dr Hobbs and Dr Annabelle from often find that frenuloplasty as the preferred surgery for children over 1 year with tongue-tie.

The good thing is that pretty much any child can be treated for this condition, and there are treatment options that are available for babies that are less than three months old, and there are also things that can be done for older children and even adults.

The best thing that you as a parent can do is talk to a professional and get your child to see an expert in this condition. No matter how old your little one is, and no matter how many issues or complications they are exhibiting, it is always best to talk to someone who is knowledgeable and who can help you with the proper cause of treatment.

There are many different treatment options that you can choose, and when you have the right professional next to you, they will be able to let you know what you can do and what would your child benefit from the most depending on their age and specific case.

Treatment options


The most common treatment option is frenuloplasty. This is a simple surgery that will help your child get back the full function of their mouth and tongue without having to risk further complications.

The surgery consists of cutting the tissue that is in the center of the upper or the lower lip. This will allow for better mobility and it will prevent any speech issues or any problems that come with feeding.

As we mentioned previously, this procedure can be done when the child is as young as three months old, but it is most commonly recommended to have it when the baby is about one year of age. It can also be done for older children and even adults.

The procedure is most commonly done with a local anesthetic and there is no need to put the child fully under anesthesia. The whole process is pretty fast and the recovery is quick and should be without any major pain or discomfort. Keep in mind that if it is done by a professional in a certified clinic, the chances for complications or post-op infections are minimal to none.

If you do this procedure when your child is about one year old, chances are, they are not going to need any speech therapies and they should be able to continue developing without any issues.

Because of that frenuloplasty is recommended to be done on time. In case you were not able to do it when your child was about 12 months old, you should know that after the procedure, your kid may need to undergo speech therapy.

These are some of the things that you need to know about tongue tie, how it will affect your child’s speech and feeding habits, and how frenuloplasty can help you get rid of the problem before it causes permanent damage. Keep in mind that you need to talk to a specialist before you do any major decisions.