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Understanding Tongue Thrusting Habit: Causes, Effects, and Solutions

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Last Reviewed by Platina Dental Clinical Team on April 3, 2024. Written by Dr. Swetha

Best Orthodontist in Kondapur & KPHB | Hyderabad

tongue thrusting in hyderabad

Tongue thrusting, a seemingly innocuous habit in childhood, can manifest as a serious concern when it persists beyond a certain age. Often overlooked, this habitual oral behavior can lead to a myriad of complications impacting not only oral health but also overall well-being. In this comprehensive exploration, we delve into the causes, effects, and solutions of tongue thrusting, shedding light on why addressing this issue is crucial, particularly after a certain age.

What is Tongue Thrusting?

Tongue thrusting, also known as “reverse swallowing” or “infantile swallowing,” refers to the habit of pushing the tongue against or between the teeth during swallowing, speaking, or even at rest. While it is a natural behavior in infants, it typically diminishes as they grow and develop proper swallowing patterns. However, in some cases, this habit persists into childhood and adulthood, leading to various complications.

Causes of Tongue Thrusting:

Several factors contribute to the development and persistence of tongue thrusting:

  1. Oral habits in infancy: Prolonged use of pacifiers, thumb-sucking, or prolonged bottle-feeding can influence tongue positioning and swallowing patterns, potentially leading to tongue thrusting.
  2. Oral anatomy: Structural issues such as a high arched palate, large tonsils, or a tongue-tie (ankyloglossia) can impact tongue placement and function, predisposing individuals to tongue thrusting.
  3. Oral habits in childhood: Persistent habits like thumb-sucking or prolonged pacifier use beyond infancy can perpetuate improper tongue positioning and swallowing patterns.
  4. Oral habits in adulthood: Certain habits such as tongue posture during rest or speaking, particularly if incorrect, can exacerbate tongue thrusting over time.
Effects of Tongue Thrusting:

Tongue thrusting can have far-reaching consequences, affecting various aspects of oral health and overall well-being:

  1. Dental malocclusions: Persistent tongue thrusting can exert pressure on the teeth, leading to misalignment (malocclusion), open bite, or overjet, requiring orthodontic intervention to correct.
  2. Speech impediments: Improper tongue positioning and swallowing patterns can affect speech clarity, causing lisping or difficulty articulating certain sounds.
  3. Breathing difficulties: Tongue thrusting may contribute to mouth breathing, which can impair proper nasal breathing and lead to issues such as dry mouth, snoring, or sleep apnea.
  4. Chronic oral health problems: The pressure exerted by tongue thrusting against the teeth can increase the risk of dental issues such as tooth decay, gum disease, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.
Why Address Tongue Thrusting After a Certain Age?

While tongue thrusting in childhood may resolve spontaneously or with intervention, addressing this habit becomes increasingly challenging and crucial after a certain age. Beyond childhood, the oral structures are more rigid, making it difficult to correct improper tongue positioning and swallowing patterns. Additionally, untreated tongue thrusting in adulthood can exacerbate existing dental and speech issues, leading to further complications.

Solutions for Tongue Thrusting:

Addressing tongue thrusting requires a comprehensive approach involving dental professionals, speech therapists, and sometimes, other healthcare providers. Treatment options may include:

  1. Oral myofunctional therapy: This specialized therapy focuses on retraining the muscles of the mouth, tongue, and face to establish proper swallowing patterns and tongue posture.
  2. Orthodontic intervention: In cases where tongue thrusting has led to dental malocclusions, orthodontic treatment such as braces or clear aligners may be necessary to correct alignment issues.
  3. Behavioral modification techniques: Behavioral strategies, such as habit-breaking exercises and reinforcement of proper tongue positioning, may be employed to discourage tongue thrusting.
  4. Surgical intervention: In rare cases where structural issues contribute to tongue thrusting, surgical procedures to address underlying anatomical abnormalities may be recommended.

Tongue thrusting, though often overlooked, can have significant implications for oral health and overall well-being. Understanding the causes, effects, and solutions of this habitual oral behavior is crucial, particularly beyond childhood. By addressing tongue thrusting promptly and comprehensively, individuals can mitigate the risk of dental complications, speech impediments, and other associated problems, ensuring optimal oral health and function for years to come.

Why Choose Platina Dental Clinic

When it comes to addressing complex oral health issues such as tongue thrusting, choosing the right dental practice is paramount. Platina Dental stands out as a premier choice for several reasons:

  1. Specialized Expertise: At Platina Dental, our team comprises experienced dental professionals with specialized training in addressing a wide range of oral health concerns, including tongue thrusting. Our dentists and orthodontists possess the expertise necessary to accurately diagnose and effectively treat tongue thrusting, ensuring optimal outcomes for our patients.
  2. Comprehensive Approach: We understand that addressing tongue thrusting requires a multidisciplinary approach. At Platina Dental, we collaborate closely with speech therapists, oral myofunctional therapists, and other healthcare providers to develop personalized treatment plans tailored to each patient’s unique needs. By combining various therapeutic modalities, we aim to achieve holistic and lasting solutions for tongue thrusting and its associated complications.
  3. Cutting-edge Technology: Platina Dental is committed to staying at the forefront of dental technology and innovation. We leverage state-of-the-art diagnostic tools and treatment techniques to accurately assess and effectively address tongue thrusting. From advanced imaging technologies to innovative orthodontic solutions, we utilize the latest advancements in dentistry to deliver superior care to our patients.
  4. Patient-Centered Care: At Platina Dental, we prioritize the comfort, safety, and satisfaction of our patients above all else. From the moment you step into our practice, you’ll be greeted by a warm and welcoming atmosphere, where you’ll receive personalized attention and compassionate care. We take the time to listen to your concerns, answer your questions, and involve you in the decision-making process every step of the way.
  5. Proven Track Record: With a track record of excellence in patient care and outcomes, Platina Dental has earned a reputation as a trusted provider of comprehensive dental services. Countless patients have entrusted us with their oral health needs, and we take pride in helping them achieve healthy, beautiful smiles that last a lifetime.

Choosing Platina Dental means choosing superior care and comprehensive solutions for tongue thrusting and other complex oral health issues. With our specialized expertise, multidisciplinary approach, cutting-edge technology, patient-centered care, and proven track record of excellence, we are dedicated to helping you achieve optimal oral health and overall well-being. Experience the Platina Dental difference and take the first step toward a healthier, happier smile today.


What is tongue thrusting?

Tongue thrusting, also known as “reverse swallowing” or “infantile swallowing,” refers to the habit of pushing the tongue against or between the teeth during swallowing, speaking, or at rest.

What causes tongue thrusting?

Several factors can contribute to the development of tongue thrusting, including oral habits in infancy, oral anatomy such as a high arched palate or tongue-tie, persistent oral habits in childhood or adulthood, and structural issues.

What are the effects of tongue thrusting?

Tongue thrusting can lead to various complications, including dental malocclusions, speech impediments, breathing difficulties, and chronic oral health problems such as tooth decay and gum disease.

Why is it important to address tongue thrusting after a certain age?

Addressing tongue thrusting becomes increasingly challenging and crucial after a certain age due to the rigidity of oral structures. Untreated tongue thrusting in adulthood can exacerbate existing dental and speech issues, leading to further complications.

How can tongue thrusting be treated?

Treatment for tongue thrusting may involve oral myofunctional therapy, orthodontic intervention, behavioral modification techniques, and in rare cases, surgical intervention to address underlying anatomical abnormalities.

Why choose Platina Dental for tongue thrusting treatment?

Platina Dental offers specialized expertise, a comprehensive approach involving collaboration with other healthcare providers, cutting-edge technology, patient-centered care, and a proven track record of excellence in addressing complex oral health issues like tongue thrusting.

Can tongue thrusting be prevented?

While some cases of tongue thrusting may be prevented by avoiding prolonged pacifier use, thumb-sucking, and other oral habits in infancy, others may be influenced by structural factors. Early intervention and proper oral hygiene practices can help mitigate the risk of tongue thrusting.

Is tongue thrusting common in adults?

While tongue thrusting is more commonly observed in children, it can persist into adulthood, particularly if left untreated. Adult tongue thrusting may be associated with underlying dental or speech issues and may require specialized treatment for resolution.

What are the long-term consequences of untreated tongue thrusting?

Untreated tongue thrusting can lead to persistent dental malocclusions, speech difficulties, breathing problems, and chronic oral health issues, emphasizing the importance of early intervention and comprehensive treatment.

How can I schedule a consultation for tongue thrusting treatment at Platina Dental?

To schedule a consultation for tongue thrusting treatment at Platina Dental, please contact our office at +919392862650. Our friendly staff will be happy to assist you in booking an appointment and answering any questions you may have.

  • Dr. Swetha

    Dr Swetha U is an expert cosmetic dentist in Root Canals, Dental Implants, Aligners, Braces, Smile Designing, Kids and Laser Dentistry. Dr. Swetha has treated over 1Lakh+ patients in her glittering career spanning 14+ years working at top dental clinics in Hyderabad including Partha Dental, National Dental Care(NDC), Apollo Dental KPHB and Apollo Dental Manikonda. Her attention to detail, accurate diagnosis, caring and down to earth attitude, beaming smile and 100% patient satisfaction are a rare combination in dentistry. Platina dental clinics are ultra-modern, equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, follow industry leading sterilization protocols, have expert team of specialists and capable of handling all dental treatments and dental emergencies. Dr. Swetha U has been ranked among the Top 10 Doctors in Hyderabad by Silicon India for her exceptional contribution to dentistry. 7D Dental Checkup developed by Dr. Swetha with her vast experience, combines clinical and radiological data to develop a treatment plan resulted in significantly higher patient satisfaction. Book an Appointment Now!


  1. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA): Tongue Thrust (Swallowing Pattern)
  2. American Dental Association (ADA): Tongue Thrust
  3. Mayo Clinic: Tongue Thrust

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Disclaimer: The suggestions given by Dr Swetha are her own and do not represent those of the dental clinics she works for. Please consult expert dentist Dr. Swetha before proceeding with any treatment. The videos contained are only for educational purpose and the treatments suggested are not to be undergone without consulting a dentist.

  • Unraveling the Mysteries of Unplanned Smile Design: A Case Study by Dr. Swetha U

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