Tongue Tie In Adults And Its 5 Shocking Associated Problems

tongue tie
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Our content is medically reviewed periodically by professionals for accuracy and relevance. We pride ourselves on our high-quality content and strive towards offering expertise while being authoritative. Our reviewers include doctors, nurses, mental health professionals, and even medical students.


Tongue Tie in adults is a condition where an individual’s tongue stays joined to their mouth’s base (floor). Tongue-tie in adults is otherwise called ankyloglossia,

This happens when the thin piece of tissue (lingual frenulum) interfacing the tongue and the floor of the mouth is shorter than normal.

The short frenulum can confine the range of motion of the tongue. Ankyloglossia in infants and kids has been related to challenges with breastfeeding and speech issues and leads to further development of tongue and lip ties.

Anybody can foster tongue tie. Sometimes, tongue-tie is innate (runs in the family). The condition happens in up to 10 percent of kids (contingent upon the examination and meaning of silence).

Tongue-tie mostly influences babies and children. Yet tongue-tie in adults and adolescents can be prevalent.

Causes Of Tongue Tie In Adults

tongue tie in adults
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Speaking from a physiological point of view, tongue-tie in adults can start from infancy.

The tongue and the floor of the mouth are fused during the fetal periods. Over time, the tongue isolates from the floor of the mouth. In the end, a dainty line of tissue (the frenulum, or lingual frenulum) attaches the lower part of the tongue to the mouth floor.

As a baby develops, the lingual frenulum generally diminishes and shrivels. In kids with tongue-ties, the frenulum stays thick and doesn’t retreat, making it hard to move the tongue.

Symptoms Of Tongue Tie In Adults

Tongue Tie In Adults
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If you have tongue-tie in adulthood, odds are you’ve adjusted to living with it.

Around 3.5 to 5 percent surprisingly are born with ankyloglossia. Also, a few specialists suggest guardians hold off on ankyloglossia medical procedures in babies, as the lingual frenulum will slacken over time.

Because of limited tongue mobility, tongue-tie in adults experience issues with:

  • Talking
  • Eating
  • Drinking
  • Sleeping
  • Kissing


Other normal indications of tongue-tie in adults include:

  • Issues staying your tongue out of your mouth past your lower front teeth
  • Inconvenience lifting your tongue to contact your upper teeth or moving your tongue from one side to another
  • Your tongue looks indented
  • Problems in tongue thrust
  • Constant sore throat
  • Mouth breathing issues
  • Problem while licking ice cream cone
  • Inflamed gums
  • Tooth decay
  • Sinus problems
  • Swallowing issues
  • Lip tie
  • Food debris getting stuck in the throat constantly

Problems Associated To Tongue Tie In Adults

tongue tie in adults
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There are plenty of issues that are associated with tongue-tie in adults other than limited tongue mobility.

The areas of trouble include social situations, self-confidence, workplace communication, and dental wellbeing.

Hence it is seen that the results of unrepaired tongue-tie don’t lessen with time – all things considered, more challenges are capable over the long term.

The particular difficulties a grown-up with a tongue tie may confront include:

1. Poor Oral Health And Unhealthy Teeth

Tongue tie in adults confines the development of the lips or tongue. This makes it difficult to swallow and move the tongue appropriately. This way this influences the progression of salivation in the mouth.

tongue bacteria
By sruilk/

Since salivation is basic for washing away plaque and oral microbes, the probability of creating cavities and even gum infection is a lot higher in patients with ankyloglossia.

2. TMJ Dysfunction

The development of the tongue in adolescence immensely affects the position and advancement of the teeth and the construction of the jaw.

TMJ Dysfunction
By Alex Mit/

If the tongue is fixed, it can’t move as expected. This typically prompts a tight mouth, jaw, and sense of taste.

Thus, a limited or little jaw movement may occur. This can bring about pain in the temporomandibular joint that associates the mandible to the skull.

TMJ can prompt extreme jaw and neck pain, trouble moving the jaw, jaw “locking,” and various other disagreeable side effects.

3. Sleep Apnea

Tongue tie in adults and lip impedance brought about by ankyloglossia, the oral structures and airway route get disturbed. On the off chance that the tongue obstructs the nasal pathway, Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) may result.

sleep apnea
By Billion Photos/

OSA meddles with sleep and can even add to the danger of respiratory failure or stroke.

4. Speech Issues

These are the most recognizable issues identified with a tongue tie in adults. When the tongue is fixed near the mouth and can’t move as expected, it is hard to talk.

Tongue-tie in adults may lead to issues with plosive sounds like “s” and may grow a stutter.

5. Cosmetic Appearance

On first noticing a child with ankyloglossia, the cosmetic appearance of the tongue and the tie will stick out. The tongue may look little, adjusted, and indented in the midline with a heart-shaped look.

The infant may have – breastfeeding issues, bottle feeding issues, upper lip lisp, open bite, and abnormal tongue movement.

If the frenum doesn’t arrive at the linguistic edge, this regular heart-shaped may not be obvious, even though the tongue’s capacity may be altogether weakened.

As the youngster ages, the appearance changes, and the tongue may look square, or bifid, or thickened and excessively huge for the mouth, with the goal that it twists up along the edges.

The physical tie can change from a thin, versatile layer to a thickened, white non-flexible tissue.

The tie or frenum may stretch out to the linguistic edge causing indenting or spread along the floor of the mouth in a fan shape coming towards the incisors and causing uneasiness or real pain on movement.

How Does Tongue Tie In Adults Affect Speech?

Tongue tie in adults
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The natural effect of tongue tie in adults on speech isn’t perceived.

The tongue needs contact with the top of the mouth while articulating the lingual sounds “t,” “d,” “z,” “s,” “th,” “n,” and “l.” When the tongue is confined and can’t arrive at the top of the mouth, the individual can have issues with pronunciation (elocution).

How Is Tongue Tie In Adults Treated?

tongue tie in adults
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At times, tongue tie in adults isn’t serious to cause observable indications.

Babies and little kids who have tongue-tie but don’t have issues taking care of, gulping, or talking may not need treatment.

Conservative treatment includes – visiting your healthcare provider who would recommend a speech-language pathologist. Going through with orthodontic treatment during tongue tie may help improve dental health.

Specific exercises and wind instruments can help take care of breathing problems as well.

If you experience tongue tie and experiences issues taking care of, the specialist can play out a basic surgery in which the lingual frenulum is cut. This is known as a frenectomy (otherwise called frenulectomy, frenotomy, or tongue division) and is done in the hospital without sedation.

The strategy is generally easy.

Little youngsters and grown-ups may get pain drugs or general sedation before the surgery.

Similarly, as with any surgery, frenectomy conveys dangers of intricacies, including:

  • Infection
  • Scarring
  • Injury to the salivation ducts and glands in the mouth

What Risks Are Related To Tongue Tie In Adults?

If left untreated, moderate to serious instances of tongue tie in adults can cause the accompanying issues:

  • Long term issues, which can cause abnormal weight gain or malnourishment
  • Speech hindrances, which can mess up social life
  • Trouble eating certain foods.

The Bottomline – Tongue Tie In Adults

Tongue Tie In Adults
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Tongue tie in adults may seem a petty issue at first, but untreated tongue tie can become something as serious as speech impairment.

Getting your symptoms checkout to rule out other diagnoses can help. Getting timely treatment can help eradicate the problem.

You can go to a speech therapist as well if you feel the condition worsening over time.

Infographic That Explains Most Common Speech Disorders And Treatment Options
Icy Health
Our content is medically reviewed periodically by professionals for accuracy and relevance. We pride ourselves on our high-quality content and strive towards offering expertise while being authoritative. Our reviewers include doctors, nurses, mental health professionals, and even medical students. -----------------------------------

Any information found on the site does not constitute legal or medical advice. Should you face health issues, please visit your doctor to get yourself diagnosed. Icy Health offers expert opinions and advice for informational purposes only. This is not a substitute for professional medical advice.


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