baby's tongue tie

Baby’s Tongue Tie: Signs and Treatment

Posted on
February 17, 2023
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Baby’s tongue tie, known as ankyloglossia. It’s something that can occur to your infant at 0-12 weeks. Signs of tongue-tie can include, you noticing difficulty for your baby to latch on during breastfeeding. When you notice that, it is important to see if the upper lip is attached to gum tissue, that will alert you that you should consult your paediatrician or dentist who can work collaboratively with an SLP to discuss how to move forward. If the child is having difficulty latching on, this can impact feeding.

In this blog we’ll share more about a baby’s tongue tie, signs of a tongue tie, and what a tongue tie looks like. If you’re seeking for more information, please feel free to book a call with our speech professionals.

What is tongue tie?

Newborn tongue-tie, also known as ankyloglossia, is a congenital anomaly present at birth that restricts tongue mobility.

What does tongue tie look like?

Place yourself in front of a mirror, open your mouth, and try to touch the roof of your mouth with the tip of your tongue. Do you see that band tissue right underneath your tongue? That small membrane that goes from the floor of your mouth, all the way to the midline portion of your tongue. This is known as lingual frenulum. Most likely yours is long and stretchy enough to let you move your tongue all the way up, and side to side. However, some people are born with a short lingual frenulum which ends up bringing the tongue (including its mid and anterior portion) closer to the floor of the mouth.

what does a baby tongue tie look like
What does a baby's tongue tie look like?

Does a baby’s tongue tie affect speech

There is literature indicating that a baby’s tongue tie doesn’t affect the articulation of sounds as the child gets older and other literature that states that it can. It is best to consult with your dentist to discuss whether or not it is best to cut the lingual frenulum: The lingual frenulum normally extends from the bottom of your mouth to the midline of your tongue. We explore if a tongue tie can affect speech in our blog, here.

How do you know if baby has tongue tie?

Just Flip the Lip! The Upper Lip-tie and Feeding Challenges by Melanie Potock explain that the short lingual frenulum, also known as a baby’s tongue tie and ankyloglossia, can lead to difficulty with breastfeeding and bottle feeding, spoon feeding, finger feeding, and oral hygiene. These determinations are made after an evaluation for feeding with a team that may include pediatricians, lactation consultants, otolaryngologists, gastroenterologists, oral surgeons, and/or pediatric dentists.

How do they fix a tongue tied baby?

A frenectomy that involves cutting the lingual frenulum, is overall considered to be a simple procedure, the caregiver has to physically stretch the tissue for the next 3-4 weeks post procedure. Many families wonder, is tongue-tie painful for babies? It is still difficult for the child/baby to engage in these uncomfortable stretches.

What happens if you don’t treat a baby’s tongue tie

There are two schools of thought regarding the implications and course of action for a tongue tie. According to Stanford Medicine Children’s Health, this can lead to the child having difficulty with articulation, or pronunciation of sounds. This clinical school of thought states that there is no correlation between tongue ties and articulation, as the way the tongue moves in response to tongue ties doesn’t affect sound production.

According to a study done by Melong, Bezuhly, and Hong in December 2021, titled “The Effect of Tongue-Tie Release on Speech Articulation and Intelligibility,” there was no direct relationship between tongue mobility from tongue tie and speech errors. Toddlers above the age of 2 were evaluated before and after a frenectomy by an SLP and independent reviewers based on recordings obtained from administering the Goldman Fristoe Test of Articulation (GFTA-2). Results revealed that there was no benefit to performing a frenectomy in improving articulation and overall speech intelligibility. Read more about speech intelligibility in our speech sounds by age chart blog, here.

At what age can a tongue tie be corrected?

It is important to make this decision with your collaborative team, including the SLP, and understand that there are two approaches. It is also important to note that many families feel comfortable with using the “wait and see” response to make a decision that is suitable for them and their child.


Just Flip the Lip! The Upper Lip-tie and Feeding Challenges

Understanding the Lingual Frenulum: Histological Structure, Tissue Composition, and Implications for Tongue Tie Surgery - PMC

Ankyloglossia (Tongue-Tie) - Stanford Medicine Children's Healthpost-procedurepediatricianstongue-tiedtongue tiea explaina ,pediatric

The Effect of Tongue-Tie Release on Speech Articulation and Intelligibility - PubMed

Chloe Crudgington
Speech and Language Therapist
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