Oral dysfunction is a common issue faced by many Aussie infants every year. Oral dysfunction is the inability (or lack of ability), for free movement of the mouth or tongue for purposes of speaking, eating, and breathing.
For infants, this is a critical issue as the inability to consume nutrients and the development of bad habits to compensate the restricted movement of the mouth and tongue could have major consequences to their health.
It is very important to address oral dysfunction early as over the course of growth, the infant may experience:
The best posture for breathing is tongue up, lips sealed and breathe through the nose. There are also many nerves above the tongue inside the mouth that stimulate relaxation in our body.
If the tongue is notable to move freely stimulating the nerve, the child will compensate by the overuse of pacifiers or fingers. Our tongue also acts as natural toothbrushes and the saliva protects our teeth from germs and bacteria. If the tongue is unable to reach certain areas, those areas may pose a risk for cavities.
If parents suspect a child is orally dysfunctional, it is encouraged to first bring the child to see a Lactation Consultant and see if they can improve on simple posture and techniques to help feeds. Lactation consultants are very knowledgeable in this area and are a great first contact if there is suspicion of tongue tie or other problems with feed.
If the issue persists, parents are encouraged to visit Occupational Therapists or other therapists to gain a second opinion or simply help the infant relax during feeds.
After that, we encourage Parents to visit a professional Dentist or Paediatric Dentist or ENT specialists to hear what can be done physically to the oral dysfunction.
Our appreciation goes out to the highly trained Dental professionals at Smyla Mobile Dental for providing the above information.