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Are Lip & Tongue-Ties Becoming More Common? Yes, & Here’s Why

May 20, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — drrohner @ 1:28 pm
a family of three standing in front of their house and smiling

It’s true that lip and tongue-ties are becoming a more commonly diagnosed problem among infants, but that’s not because the problem itself is new. There’s historical, visual proof that this issue was being treated as far back as 1679, because woodcutting illustrations show physicians performing frenectomies. To get down to why lip and tongue-ties are being more commonly diagnosed, it’s important to understand the history behind the condition. Read on to learn more about lip and tongue-ties, including how you can spot them.

What are Lip & Tongue-Ties?

Lip and tongue-ties are technically two different problems, but they often occur in-tandem with each other. Lip ties are when the small pieces of tissue that attach your infant’s lips to their gums becomes overgrown, limiting their ability to move their lips and create suction, which is why many parents notice their child is having a difficult time breastfeeding. Tongue-ties are a little different. There are a few classifications of this problem, all having to do with the growth of the piece of tissue that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth, called the frenulum:

  • Ties are further behind the tip of the tongue
  • Ties are closer to the tongue’s base
  • Ties are attached to the tip of the tongue
  • Ties are underneath the mucous membrane, covering them up

It’s also possible for an infant to have a combination of these issues, which is why diagnoses from a professional is crucial.

Why are Lip & Tongue-Ties More Frequently Diagnosed Today?

Tongue and lip-ties have a long history of being diagnosed and treated, but they seem more common today than they did during your parent’s and grandparent’s generations. Why is that? With the rise in parent’s bottle-feeding their kids in the mid-19th century due to the development of the bottle and nipple, fewer parents were able to experience one of the most common signs of this problem: difficulty latching while breastfeeding. Because breastfeeding has become increasingly more common today, there are more parents visiting their child’s pediatrician seeking help with nursing issues, leading to diagnoses of lip and tongue-ties in their infants.  

How Can You Spot the Signs of Lip & Tongue-Ties?

There are several different signs of lip and tongue-ties that you can look out for besides difficulty breastfeeding. For parents who don’t breastfeed, these are good to keep in mind so you can identify whether your child needs a frenectomy, which is the name of the treatment for this problem. Here are some symptoms of lip and tongue-ties:

  • Clicking noises while suckling
  • Excessive drooling
  • Digestion issues
  • Excessive drooling
  • Difficulty gaining weight
  • Chewing on the nipple of the bottle while feeding

By keeping a close eye out for these signs, you’ll be able to seek help to address the root cause of all of these issues.

Your baby’s wellbeing is your top priority, and being informed of common issues in infants is a great way to be proactive when it comes to making sure they stay healthy. With help from your pediatric dentist or pediatrician, you can tackling lip and tongue-ties before they lead to development barriers for your little one down the road.

About the Author

Dr. Angelica Rohner taught special education for two years before attending the University of Mississippi School of Dentistry for her DMD degree. She then completed an additional two-year pediatric dentistry residency before becoming Board-Certified in pediatric dentistry. She has countless years of experience educating children about their smiles and treating patients of all ages, from infants to teens. She also offers specialized services for little ones, such as frenectomies and children’s orthodontics. To schedule an appointment, visit Dr. Rohner’s website or call 205-870-0892.

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