Sucking your tongue without any obvious reason can cause discomfort and pain and make you self-conscious. Both children and adults are affected by this odd condition. If you or anyone close is affected by this habit, read on to learn causes and ways for overcoming this habit or get professional help from our dentist in San Jose, CA.

What causes tongue-sucking

The habit of sucking your tongue can develop in early childhood or occur later in life due to a disease or as a side effect of medication.

How This Condition Develops In Children

For children sucking a pacifier or thumb provides relaxation, and according to a study conducted in 2014, children may continue sucking until they reach the age of 4, especially before going to sleep.

Some babies may fail to leave the tongue-sucking habit even after the expected time. This can be linked to the constant need for anxiety relief or a disorder affecting the child’s physical health.

In some cases, tongue sucking can also occur with other conditions, such as tongue thrust (reverse swallow). Due to this, the child may rest their tongue against the bottom or top teeth instead of keeping it behind them.

How This Condition Develops In Adults

In adults, tongue sucking may develop as a habit to reduce anxiety, or it can be the after-effects of certain health issues or medicine. Tardive dyskinesia is a movement disorder that occurs when excessive dopamine is generated in the body. The symptoms may include lip-smacking, facial grimacing, and tongue-sucking.

Why Stop Sucking On Tongue

Tongue sucking can cause several issues, such as:

  • Bite problems, such as a cross bite or open bite
  • Injuries or sores on the tongue
  • Tongue enlargement
  • Misalignment of teeth
  • Discomfort from constant sucking

A 2015 study shows that tongue-sucking can also impact you emotionally. Since, most of the time, you’re unaware of the sucking; you may slowly begin to become self-conscious about it. How much this habit affects you depends on the length of time you have sucked your tongue, the hours per day, and the intensity of sucking.

How To Stop

Help Yourself

Think of activities that can interrupt your habit of tongue-sucking. This can include:

  • Chewing gum
  • Set up reminders to make you alert you’re not sucking your tongue

Get Professional Help

If you’re unable to help yourself, you can get help from a doctor or a dentist. A pro can help you stop this habit in a different way:

  • A removable palate can be used as a reminder to stop sucking and also makes sucking the tongue difficult.
  • For your child, a team approach will work best. A pediatric dentist will carefully examine your kid’s mouth and refer you to an orthodontist if they suspect the presence of any dental or oral conditions.
  • You can also talk to a psychiatrist to help find the underlying cause.
  • Consult a speech-language pathologist, especially if the tongue-sucking has affected your eating or speaking ability

Contact the dental professionals at AT Dental Care in San Jose by calling (408) 579-9931. We’ll be happy to assist you or your child with a healthy mouth.

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