Commonly referred to as tongue tie, ankyloglossia is a condition that limits movement of the tongue. It affects about 10% of all babies around the world. The condition simply refers to shortness of the frenulum, which is the skin-like cord that joins the floor of the mouth and the underside of the tongue. Babies with this condition are simply unable to extend their tongue or move it either up and down or sideways within the mouth.
Tongue tie is a birth defect tat causes feeding problem, especially in infants and babies. It had remained unnoticed for centuries. It is only at the beginning of the 20th century that the condition was discovered.
It is possible to see a tongue tie in case it attaches at the exterior end of your baby’s tongue when he/she cries or yawns. A tongue tie that attaches at the back of the tongue can be very difficult to see because it remains hidden.
Your baby is bound to present several symptoms in case he/she has a tongue tie;
Difficulty in breastfeeding – He/she will find it had to breastfeed normally because of limited movement of the tongue. He/she is forced to latch on both nipple and breast tissue.
Difficulty to open mouth wide – Effective breastfeeding requires that a baby opens his/her mouth wide enough to accommodate breast nipple. Your baby is bound to find it very hard to open his/her mouth wide enough to breastfeed effectively.
Damaged nipples – You are bound to find it difficult to breastfeed your baby in case of tongue tie. The action of latching on both the nipple and breast tissue leaves your nipples squashed and sore.
The negative effect of tongue tie is not limited to breastfeeding. Bottle-fed babies also find it difficult drawing in the teat, which leads to ineffective sucking. Babies with tongue tie can also find it difficult in pronouncing words depending on where the frenulum is attached.
There is really no need to seek treatment for tongue-tie. However, treatment becomes necessary in case it hinders effective feeding to a point where your baby’s health is deteriorating.
The attaching frenulum is usually cut to release the tie. This makes it possible for a baby to move his/her tongue freely within the mouth. The procedure only involves a slight sensation pain and your baby is able to breastfeed immediately after the procedure.
It may become necessary to return your baby after several months or years for another cut. This applies in case the frenulum re-attaches itself again.