While strides have been made in enhancing education on the subject of tongue ties, the repercussions of such restrictions frequently find themselves dismissed or overlooked. Confronted with challenges in feeding, for instance, explanations might lean towards the child being “easily distractible” or a “picky eater.” In cases of breastfeeding difficulties, mothers might hear phrases like “It’s supposed to hurt for six weeks,” “All babies experience gas, fussiness, and spit-up,” or even “Your baby is just not nursing diligently enough.” Though well-intentioned, such advice often sidesteps the underlying issue, failing to acknowledge it altogether.
THE UNDERLYING ISSUE COULD BE A TONGUE-TIE.
Both personally and professionally, Dr. Baxter’s life has been profoundly influenced by tongue-ties. Having lived with an undiagnosed tongue-tie into adulthood and witnessing all three of his daughters face the same challenge, he recognizes its significance. While some researchers estimate tongue-tie prevalence to be between 4% and 10% of the population, this figure might be an underestimate due to the difficulty in diagnosing posterior tongue-ties, which often go unaccounted for in studies. In reality, the number of infants or children affected by tongue-ties could be closer to 1 in 4.
Tongue-ties can stealthily underlie nursing hurdles in infants, feeding problems in toddlers, speech impairments in children, and even headaches or neck pain in adults. Are tongue-ties the root cause of all ailments? Certainly not. However, their significance is frequently downplayed, misconstrued, or disregarded by numerous healthcare providers.