Newborns are at a huge disadvantage. They can move their arms and legs and wave hands and feet in the air. They can cry. They can pee and poop. But only with the assistance of adults can they eat. They are totally dependent on their parents for continued life.
Nature has, however, provided them with a few tricks up their non-existent sleeves. They have reflexes, automatic reactions to certain types of stimulus. These reflexes, such as the tongue-thrust reflex, are all they have to help them survive.
When any of these involuntary reflexes persist in a baby, there is reason for concern. Sometimes babies will persist with the tongue-thrust reflex into early childhood. This may be evidence of a congenital abnormality, but it is usually due to habit. This habit, however, can cause significant problems with the development of the mouth and with teething. It can also interfere with the acquisition of language skills, causing a lisp.
If the tongue thrust continues past 6 months, the child needs to be evaluated. Starting with your pediatrician is always a good idea. The pediatrician may recommend that you take the baby to a children's dentist or orthodontist for infant oral care. The earlier treatment is started, the less damage is done. If not treated, tongue thrust can cause malformations of the teeth.
Persistence of the tongue-thrust reflex may indicate an underlying problem.
If you're concerned about your child's tooth development, seeing a children's dentist is wise. A children's dentist is the best kids' dentist. They are the experts in pain-free dentistry and the best cosmetic dentists for kids. In Ontario, Canada, the Ontario children's dentist to go to is at the Kids Dental Specialty, where they start with infant oral care and follow their patients through the years and growth. Call and make an appointment for your child today.
by Juli Brown