Why Treat Tongue Thrust?

A tongue thrust is the improper placement and function of the tongue during swallowing. When swallowing, or at rest, the tongue thrusts in between, forward or sideways against the teeth rather than lifting up into the palate (roof of mouth).   Restoring a normal rest posture of the tongue and lips and eliminating incorrect swallowing patterns can:

  • Guide the teeth into a more desirable relationship during the growth and development years;
  • Assist the orthodontist in aligning the teeth and jaws properly; 
  • Assist in stabilization of the teeth during and/or after orthodontic treatment;
  • Enhance overall appearance, resting with lips together has a positive cosmetic effect.


  • Tongue resting posture is forward 
  • Lips are open at rest
  • Tongue visibly moves forward when chewing
  • Lips squeeze and chin has a tightened appearance during swallow
  • Noisy chewing/swallowing (smacking & gulping
  • Tongue comes forward to meet utensil or cup
  • Food is frequently washed down with liquid
  • Chewing with lips open
  • Taking large bites
  • Messy eating
  • Tongue protrudes between or against upper/lower teeth when forming /t/ /d/ /n/ /s/ /z/ /l/ /ch/ /sh/ or /j/ 


A speech-language pathologist with experience and training in the treatment of tongue thrust will evaluate and treat the following: 

  • open mouth posture, speech sound errors, swallowing disorders, and tongue thrust. When patients have good rest posture, there is equilibrium in the orofacial complex.
Sarah McDonnell