The Link Between Speech Development and Lip and Tongue-Tie Conditions


Babbling is a child’s natural way of attempting to communicate at first. Typically, children begin speaking words between 18-24 months. You will notice your child experimenting with sounds and connecting them with meaning. Eventually, the babble turns into actual words and your child begins to express themselves articulately. It’s definitely a milestone we hope to capture on video. But, what if your child hasn’t spoken their first words yet? Is it a cognitive speech development issue? Or, could your child be affected by lip or tongue-tie conditions.

Speech Development

Babble talk is your child’s method of developing communication skills. In addition, it helps your child to learn the rules of socialization and how words relate to facial expressions. Babies are constantly learning the language spoken to them. Help your child by following these tips below. 

Speech Development Tips

Engage your child in conversation

As you speak, your baby is processing words. Give him/her time to respond - even if it’s just babble.

Encourage your child to speak correctly by avoiding baby talk. For example, some parents will speak babble to their child. Instead, use the correct words to help guide your child’s natural progression. In other words, do not say “binky”. Say “pacifier”.

Read and sing to your child as well. They will start associating words with meaning faster.

Key Point

Every child will develop differently. Some progress sooner while others do not. Nevertheless, parents should not worry. Keep in mind that as long as you notice a steady progression, your child is on the right path. However if you notice a lack of progression, contact your pediatrician. There could be an underlying issue that is affecting your child’s speech development. Often times, you may be referred to a speech-language pathologist. Likewise, we encourage parents to seek a consultation with a lip and tongue-tie doctor. Speech development issues are a common sign of these conditions that prohibit natural lip and tongue movement. 

Lip and Tongue-Tie Conditions

When the lip or tongue frenula is too thick or tight, it is known as lip-tie or tongue-tie. In short, some babies are born with one or both conditions. Many pediatricians and parents overlook these issues which result in the child coping with complications such as speech development. “Sadly, there are cases where children are believed to have other issues, mental or physical, that prohibit them from speaking clearly. However, they later find that the true issue was lip or tongue-tie,” says Dr. Fawn Rosenberg of Lexington Smile Studio. “These conditions are likely to cause a series of complications which is why a professional consultation is always recommended.”

Symptoms and Complications

These conditions occur at birth. Therefore, early symptoms can be noticed such as the ones listed below. In addition, early treatment is possible to assure your child’s best quality of life.

•    Difficult tongue movement, Reflux, Gasps for air during feedings, Baby falls asleep before consuming enough milk, Gas or hiccups after feeding, Poor latching capabilities, Makes smacking sounds during feedings, Gum latching, Baby has oral blisters, Poor weight gain, Gulps milk, Prefers the bottle and/or avoids the pacifier.

If your child’s lip and/or tongue-tie is left untreated, future complications are likely to occur. Aside from speech development challenges, your child can also suffer from the following.

•    Teeth clenching, Teeth grinding, Snoring, Sleep apnea, Mouth breathing, Difficulty chewing food, Delayed speech, Lisp, Dental health issues, Migraines, Narrow airways, Difficulty sleeping, Narrow palate, Underbite or overbite, Chronic asthma, Rhinitis, Neck, back, or jaw pain.

CO2 Laser Treatment for Lip and Tongue-Tie Conditions

Treating lip and tongue-tie conditions is easily done with a CO2 laser procedure. This safe and effective treatment offers instant sterilization with minimal blood loss. In addition, patients feel no discomfort. The procedure is simple. In brief, the laser evaporates the excess frenula within seconds. This allows patients to immediately return to normal activities. The CO2 laser treatment is safe for babies, children, and adults. 

Thus, parents can consult with a specialist regarding treatment for their infant child. “We recommend treating the condition as early as possible since babies are likely to experience malnourishment. However, if the child is older, treatment is still necessary to avoid future complications like speech development,” says Dr. Rosenberg.

In all, seeking professional guidance for a child’s speech development is essential. Underlying issues such as lip and tongue-tie conditions require consultation from a specialist. If you suspect your child of having lip or tongue-tie conditions, request an appointment with Dr. Fawn Rosenberg of Lexington Smile Studio today. Parents may call (781) 861-SMILE or book an appointment online at www.LexingtonSmileStudio.com. The office is conveniently located at 922 Waltham St #202 Lexington, MA 02421.

About Fawn Rosenberg, DMD, FAGD

Dr. Fawn Rosenberg graduated from Tufts School of Dental Medicine in 1985 and received her Fellowship from the Academy of General Dentistry in 1990. Since then, Dr. Rosenberg has been using a variety of lasers in dentistry for more than 20 years. Her credentials have been recognized at Brigham and Women’s Hospital along with Tufts, Boston, and Harvard universities where she previously held staff appointments. 

Dr. Rosenberg is devoted to continuing her education while participating in dental organizations. She is an active member of the Massachusetts Dental Society, Academy of General Dentistry, American Dental Association, Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, International Affiliation of Tongue-Tie Professionals and International Consortium of Oral Ankylofrenula Professionals.

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