What is a Tongue Thrust?

A tongue thrust, or tongue thrust swallowing pattern, is the most obvious and recognizable sign that you or your child may need myofunctional therapy. A tongue thrust occurs when the tongue pushes forward during a swallow. The resting position of the tongue is the most problematic aspect of this condition.

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Where is your tongue? The tongue should naturally rest in the roof of the mouth to provide internal stability for the upper jaw. However, when this condition is present, the tip of the tongue rests against or in between the front teeth with the entire tongue resting low or in the floor of the mouth.

Having a tongue thrust can be an indicator for other health concerns involving the airway and breathing. When a tongue thrust swallowing pattern is present, it is likely that mouth breathing and an open mouth posture will also be found.

Most Common Signs of a Tongue Thrust

  1. Mouth Breathing
    • Open mouth posture = low resting tongue
  2. Thumb Sucking
    • When the thumb is constantly in the mouth, the swallowing pattern for the tongue will develop incorrectly.  Even when the habit has been stopped the condition usually remains because the tongue doesn’t know any different behavior.