Tongue tie, also known as ankyloglossia, is a condition where the thin piece of tissue (lingual frenulum) that connects the bottom of the tongue to the floor of the mouth is shorter or tighter than usual. This can restrict the movement of the tongue, potentially causing difficulties with speech, feeding, and oral hygiene. In some cases, tongue tie may require medical intervention, such as a frenectomy, to release the tight tissue and improve tongue mobility. It is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a tongue tie specialist, lactation consultant or paediatrician, for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment options.
A tongue tie can affect baby feeding in several ways. The restricted movement of the tongue due to the tight or short lingual frenulum can make it difficult for the baby to latch onto the breast or bottle properly. This can lead to problems with breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, such as poor milk transfer, inadequate nutrition, and slow weight gain. The baby may also have difficulty creating a seal around the nipple, causing milk to leak out of their mouth. Additionally, a tongue tie can make it challenging for the baby to move their tongue in a coordinated manner, which can affect their ability to suck and swallow effectively.
A tongue tie can have long-lasting effects if left untreated. If a tongue tie is not addressed, it can continue to affect speech, feeding, and oral hygiene as the child grows older. In some cases, it may lead to difficulties with articulation and pronunciation of certain sounds. It can also impact the child’s ability to clean their teeth and gums properly, potentially increasing the risk of dental issues. Therefore, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment options to prevent any long-term effects.