What is the Importance of Tongue-Tie?

Enrichment Therapies

April 7, 2022

Speech pathologist with child working on tongue tie

By: Kaylie Wright, M.A., CCC-SLP

Are you concerned that your child has a tongue or lip tie? Have you been told tongue ties “rarely cause issues” or “treating tongue ties is a fad?” There is a lot of misinformation around the topic of tongue ties. It is important to know the facts and follow your gut. If you are concerned that there is a problem, reach out and have a qualified professional do an evaluation! 

What is a tongue-tie? 

A tongue-tie, or Ankyloglossia, is defined as a condition present at birth that is caused by an abnormally tight frenulum (small attachment between the floor of the mouth and the tongue) that restricts the tongue’s range of motion. A person with a tongue tie often has a tongue that appears short or restricted. This condition impacts the ability of the tongue to move properly, which in turn can impact other areas of oral function. The degree to which a tongue can be tethered varies from person to person. There are also lip ties and buccal (cheek) ties that can be impactful as well. 

Why is it important?

There is a lot of misinformation out there about tongue ties, so it is important to have a trained, knowledgeable provider to consult with. It is important to know that a tongue-tie should be diagnosed and treated based on function, rather than appearance. Tongue ties can impact many areas in children and adults. Some areas that may be impacted are as follows:

  • Breastfeeding and bottle-feeding 
  • Colic/excessive gassiness (due to poor feeding/latch)
  • Pain and discomfort for mothers breastfeeding
  • Difficulty with tongue movement/range of motion (moving side to side, sticking tongue out, lifting up, retraction, etc.) 
  • Aversions to certain food textures
  • Hypersensitive gag 
  • Frequent choking
  • Poor weight gain
  • Poor dental hygiene (difficulty cleaning/clearing food from teeth)
  • Lip/buccal ties can cause food pocketing
  • Difficulty producing speech sounds
  • Poor intelligibility in connected speech
  • Speech placement errors
  • Tongue thrust
  • Saliva management
  • Tongue at rest posture 
  • Dentition 
  • Restful sleep
  • Snoring
  • Teeth clenching
  • Headaches
  • Shape of palate

Who can benefit from support with tongue ties?

It is important to find a knowledgeable provider(s) that you trust to evaluate and make a plan. Every person’s anatomy is different, and therefore, everyone’s symptoms and outcomes will be different. If you have concerns that your child may have oral restriction(s), please reach out and have your child assessed!

Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center has locations in the Iowa City, IA area and Des Moines, IA area. We provide individual speech-language therapy and tutoring as well as offering small group academic programs.  At Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center our passion is to help kids achieve effective communication skills and gain academic success.  Contact us for more information on how we can help your child succeed.


740 Community Drive, Unit A

North Liberty, IA 52317



5530 West Pkwy, Suite 300

Johnston, IA 50131


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