Tongue to Toes: The Whole Body Connection

The human body is an amazing and intricate work of natural art that we will probably study for centuries to come before we ever establish a complete understanding of it. From what we do know from current research and physiologic understanding, it is all very connected.

Every organ, bone, muscle, and tissue is connected in some way to each other. Consider, now, how that connection can impact your body in a negative way.

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Many are familiar with muscles and their connection to the body and movement. Yet, little is ever mentioned of its structural companion, fascia. Fascia is a thin band of connective tissue that envelopes our muscles.

muscle-anatomy

It’s a protective sheath that groups together muscles of similar function and helps to distribute nerves and blood vessels.

While there are 4 layers of fascia that cover certain portions of the body, our outermost layer covers the entire body. Think of it as akin to the skin in encompassing connectivity. If you were to pinch your skin on your arm you may feel the pull or tension of that stretched skin in another area of the arm.

A tongue tie works similarly in fasical pull, as our deep front line fascia connects our tongue in one continuous band of fascia down to our toes.

fascia

It is only in the given imagery above that you can see how a tongue tie (which is restrictive or tight connective tissue band connecting the floor of the mouth to the base of the tongue) can affect breathing, posture, pelvic floor stability, and toe walking. Often a “harmless” tongue tie can be just the clinical tip of the iceberg, masking within the body various linked medical and dental problems.

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Some people do claim to have miraculous feelings of relief or immediate postural improvement. While not unusual, most people do have to wait or accompany a tongue tie release with manual bodywork to assist in fascial strain release. Those pulls by fascia that is holding you together may just be holding you back from real relief.

Don’t let your tongue affect your body negatively. Have your tongue functionally assessed by a myofunctional therapist. Or, learn more about the tongue’s impact on the body, coupled with resources to guide you on your journey from tied to free with our Ultimate Guide for the Tongue Tied.

[Want a closer look at this surgically extracted deep front line with detailed explanation. Get a better view on YouTube.]

The Ultimate Guide for the Tongue Tied

Without fail there are only two responses I get when I notify someone that they have a tongue tie:

  1. No one has ever told me that before
  2. My (or his/her) speech is fine

Given the general lack of information out regarding tongue ties and the linked health concerns, those answers are understandable. However, it is beyond time to break the myths and provide more centralized information that is easy to digest.

A tongue tie may very well be the biggest little thing you never knew you had as it impacts and affects many other parts of the body and is involved in an essential bodily function.

Facts

TMS tongue tie infographic

What if you don’t release

While a tongue tie can very well impact speech, I honestly list speech towards the bottom of reasons to treat a tongue tie. The tongue in it’s proper resting posture should be up against the roof of the mouth for proper breathing, development, and function. A restrictive lingual frenum (string of tissue connecting the floor of the mouth to the base of the tongue) will make proper posture difficult if not impossible. Without release and therapy to obtain proper tongue posture you are risking the possible consequences below.

TMS tongue tie consequence

THE RESOURCES

Frenectomy Tips Before They Snip

A three page guide with the four major steps you should take prior to releasing or considering releasing a tongue tie. Including why pre and post exercising is essential for optimal healing outcomes.

7 Questions You Must Ask Before Choosing A Release Provider

This resource has our list of every essential question you should have answered prior to deciding whether or not this provider is right for you. Not all release professionals are equal in tools, experience, and technique. To make an informed decision you should ask as many questions as possible. Remember, while not a major hospital stay surgery, a tongue tie release is still a surgery.

Tongue Tie Release Checklist and Questionnaire

Accompany resource to our 7 Questions, is this checklist and questionnaire. Use the questionnaire to document what your desires are when it comes to your release experience and healing. Also document the answers to the 7 questions you ask each provider you interview so you can compare responses and make the best decision.

Frequently asked questions

Our YouTube video series, Sixty Second Saturday, answered common questions in less than 60 seconds, like: Frenectomy vs. Frenuloplasty: what’s the difference and Frenectomy healing time: how long.

F.R.E.E. Your Tongue

A self-guided course of myofunctional therapy for those who are unable to work one-on-one with a myofunctional therapist prior to getting released.

 

Pre and Post Frenectomy Excercising: An Analogy to Make it Simple

The decision to release a restricted or “tied” tongue and/or lip is not one to be taken lightly. While the procedure itself is a minor surgery with relatively quick recovery, several factors should be considered prior to committing.

  • Research
  • Professional Confirmation
  • Pre- and Post-procedural exercise regimen
  • Recovery timeline and commitment

Research

Believe it or not, tongue ties and releases fluctuate in popularity. In the early to mid 20th century, midwives used to release the restricted tongue with one swipe of a sharp fingernail. Through the years the trends have shifted and medicine has steered away from diagnosing or recommending frenectomy in newborns. Bottle feeding newborns and braces are the new norms. Perhaps in the next 15-20 years we may see a return in the popularity of early releases. Until then we are in a current state where there are children and even adults who have frequently visited a dentist or physician and have never once been informed of their tongue tie. The physician literally looks into the mouth everytime they see you and request you say, “ah.” The dentist works almost exclusively within the mouth and is seen more frequently by some people than the physician.

These providers should have an obligation to look within the oral cavity and inform their patients of any abnormalities. Granted a physician may see patients that are suffering from deadly, debilitating and life-altering diseases. So a tongue tie that is not impacting speech or quality of life does not alarm or alert their senses to do no harm.

Limited teaching is done on tongue ties in medical and dental schools. So while it may be personally disturbing to think that you have gone your whole life only to have a dental hygienist at your new dental office inform you of your tongue tie, despite your 60+ years of medical and dental encounters previously, rest assured you are not alone. Dentists and MDs are not trained thoroughly on the impact and presentation of tongue ties. New research is presenting frequently with connections to health and tongue ties.

It is critical that you invest your time in looking into ALL the researched associations and implications of living with a tongue tie prior to deciding to go for release.

Professional Confirmation

Perhaps your enlightened and knowledgeable dental hygienist, dentist, speech-language pathologist, bodyworker or doctor has informed you that you and/or your child has a tongue tie. What should you do with this information?

Get a second professional opinion from another enlightened and knowledgeable healthcare provider. Preferrably one who specializes in tongue ties such as a dentist that performs releases, a bodyworker, or a myofunctional therapist (a.k.a. orofacial myologist).

The later is able to determine if your tongue tie is functional or not. In other words, do you have a tongue tie that can be rehabilitated to maintain proper oral resting posture; or do you need a frenectomy in order to establish and maintain proper oral resting posture.

Pre and Post Exercises Analogy

Imagine that your arms have been attached to your torso from the armpit down to the wrist. If a doctor informed you that a release was necessary would you know what to do with your arms once they were freed? Would your muscles be strong enough to perform all the directional pulls, lifts, twists and bends that you are capable of? If you failed to utilize those movements post-release how would the arm heal?

The last of these questions is of the utmost importance. Scar tissue is the body’s natural healing response. An arm released that does not move would naturally form scar tissue between the torso and the arm. You may not be fully restricted, but you would have failed to gain the complete release you could have achieved.

Making the most of your decision to release has to include work with a myofunctional therapist to perform pre- and post-frenectomy exercises. The exercises will not establish a proper oral resting posture, but they will stretch and strengthen the muscles, and prepare some muscle memory for the healing process. This a short part of a complete myofunctional therapy program that focuses on preparing the patient to be eligible for release and prevent the re-restrictive development of scar tissue.

Recovery Timeline & Goals

A minor surgery is a surgery. Recovery is necessary. Listen to the releasing provider and plan your schedule accordingly. You will need to take some time off of work or your child may need to take a day or two out of school.

Be sure to plan for pain management. Some people have minimal pain post-procedural, while others take longer to recover from pain. Prepare for the worst while expecting the best.

Move that tongue as much as possible. Perform your post-procedural exercise regimen as much as possible in the first 72 hours. Remember to follow-up with your myofunctional therapist in addition to your releasing provider to ensure your recovery is going smoothly.

Conclusion

Nothing guarantees a better outcome than preparedness.

Go into the decision to have a tie released by doing your research on possible consequences, getting an informed second opinion, working with a myofunctional therapist to prepare and understand your recovery prognosis.