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What are Tongue + Lip Ties?

Posted by Jesse Lillejord on
What are tongue + lip ties? Collectively we call them tethered oral tissues [TOTs]. We take a deep dive into all things TOTs:
— What Tongue + Lips Ties are
  — Common Symptoms for Infants + Moms
— Associated breastfeeding difficulties
— How your pediatric chiropractor can support


What are Tongue Ties? What are Lip Ties? 

Tongue and Lip Ties are very similar but differ in location. Tongue ties occur when the thin tissue under the baby’s tongue restricts the movement of the tongue. Often with tongue ties there are also lip ties. Lip ties are restrictive membranes between the upper lip to the upper gums. With these thin membranes, the issue arises when the tissue is too tight - creating movement + function.
What are tongue and lip ties?


Why do we care about Tongue + Lip Ties? 

The connection between the oral tethers and the rest of the body are almost unbelievable. The small membrane on the bottom of your tongue actually connects all the way back + down to your big toe [this connective tissue is pictured below]. Because of this extensive fascial connection, babies struggling with oral restrictions often present with tension + are visibly uncomfortable on their back. 

What are tongue and lip ties 


What are possible infant symptoms?

— noisy suckling or clicking
— popping on + off the breast
— poor weight gain
— coughing or gagging
— lip blisters
— gas pain
— noisy breathing/snoring while sleeping
— reflux + frequent spit ups
— milk dribbles out of mouth during feeding
— milk coming out of the nose
— colic symptoms [cries often]
— 20+ minutes per feeding after the newborn period 


What are tongue + lip ties

What are possible symptoms for Mom?

— flattened or cracked nipples after breastfeeding 
— nipple pain
— bleeding nipples
— nipple thrush
— prolonged feedings
— poor breast drainage
— decreased milk production 
Many of the symptoms that mom may experience are related to breastfeeding + milk production. Some mothers get anxiety and feel a sense of guilt with breastfeeding difficulty, when it typically has nothing to do with the mother. An infant with a tongue tie isn’t able to latch deeply — around the entire nipple and areola — which compresses mom’s nipple leading to nipple pain + skin irritation. Some infants will stay attached to the nipple for a long period of time but not take in milk and others may only feed during mom’s let down period because milk is flowing more easily. The lack of stimulation then decreases the amount of milk mom produces.


What are tongue and lip ties

TOTs and Pediatric Chiropractic Care:

Chiropractic care and craniosacral therapy (CST) cannot make tongue and lip ties disappear. Rather these techniques help to decrease the restriction and tension throughout the body, which improves mobility. Getting the tethered oral tissue revised by a pediatric dentist is critical in removing the baby’s tongue/lip tie. [We work with amazing pediatric dentists in the community!] We typically like to see infants at least once before their revision and again after the revision. Chiropractic care, body work, and Craniosacral therapy all help support the revision by removing any tension in the body. This allows the body to get ready for the revision as well as aid in the healing process! 


Our Resources:
Baxter, R., Musso, M., Hughes, L., Lahey, L., Fabbie, P., Lovvorn, M., . . . Agarwal, R. (2018). Tongue-tied: How a tiny string under the tongue impacts nursing, feeding, speech, and more. Pelham, AL: Alabama Tongue-Tie Center.


 *** As always don't hesitate to reach out with questions /// thoughts surrounding this topic! ***

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