We're all born with tiny bits of tissue (also called frenum, frenulum or oral tethers) under our tongue and upper lip, and inside our cheeks.
But sometimes, babies are born with oral tethers that are too tight, too stiff or too short — otherwise known as tongue or lip tie — that restricts the normal movement and function of the tongue and mouth.
Over the course of a lifetime, this can lead to several health issues, including difficulties with nursing, feeding, speech, sleep & breathing problems, among others.
Estimated babies in the world born with tongue tie
Babies born with tongue tie every year (based on 10% of all births)
Nursing infants that can be affected by shallow latch due to an oral restriction
But if left untreated, tongue tie can actually have long-term effects on your body — leading to health problems at each stage of development from childhood into adulthood.
Learn more about the 3 key concepts of how oral restrictions lead to muscle and bone changes, which affect how we breathe, sleep, eat & communicate.
Simply put, there are a lot of muscles attached to underlying bones (called orofacial muscles) that are being recruited thousands of times a day to make the functional movements of the face.
If you thought that was surprising, then swallowing, eating and speaking take it to the next level.
Sing along: "The leg bone's connected to the knee bone. The knee bone's connected to the thigh bone. The thigh bone's connected to the hip bone..." and so on.
What was missed in this classic song was what is really important to Dem' bones: The muscles that pull and push on our bones.
Oral health professionals and supportive oral motor specialists (as well as others in the medical field) are starting to see this exact change play out in their patients’ faces.
If you have less coordination with your muscles in your mouth (as mentioned in CONCEPT #1), you may speak less clearly. Also, it may be hard to chew or swallow food.
But there's one thing even MORE important that's impacted by oral dysfunction, which is impossible to live without: Oxygen.