How Common Is Tongue-Tie in Babies?

Medically Reviewed on 6/15/2022
tongue-tie newborn
Tongue-tie, or ankyloglossia, occurs in about 4%-11% of newborns and is characterized by an excessively tight lingual frenulum.

About 4%-11% of babies are born with tongue-tie (ankyloglossia), which is a condition present since birth that confines the tongue's scope of movement.

Frenula are little strings of tissue found in different places of the mouth, for example, under the tongue, inside the cheeks, close to the back molars, and under the top lip. Although an embryo is developing in the womb, these strings guide the development of some mouth structures. The frenulum under the tongue is known as the lingual frenum.

With tongue-tie, an unusually short, thick, or tight band of tissue (lingual frenulum) ties the lower part of the tongue's tip to the floor of the mouth, so it might meddle with breastfeeding. Somebody who has tongue-tie may experience difficulty sticking out their tongue. It can likewise influence how a youngster eats, talks and swallows. Although at times it may not cause issues, a few cases might require basic surgery for correction.

What causes tongue-tie?

Generally, the lingual frenulum separates before birth, allowing the tongue to move freely. With tongue-tie, the lingual frenulum stays joined to the lower part of the tongue. Why this happens is still unknown, although oral issues, such as tongue and lip ties, may be caused by certain genetic factors.

What are the signs and symptoms of tongue-tie?

Tongue-tie is normally found due to issues with breastfeeding, which may be present if your baby does the following:

  • Can't latch well
  • Will, in general, bite more than suck
  • Doesn't gain anticipated weight
  • Feeds for quite a while, enjoys a short reprieve and afterward feeds again for a long stretch
  • Is fussy when attempting to breastfeed
  • Makes a clicking sound while breastfeeding
  • Appears to be hungry constantly

You might also notice tongue-tie if your baby has

  • trouble lifting their tongue to the upper teeth or moving their tongue from one side to another,
  • inconvenience sticking out their tongue past the lower front teeth, or
  • a tongue that seems notched or heart-formed when stuck out.

What are the complications of tongue-tie?

Tongue-tie can influence a child's oral turn of events -- how the individual eats, talks, and swallows.

For instance, it can cause the following complications:

  • Breastfeeding issues: Breastfeeding care requires a child to keep their tongue over the lower gum while sucking. On the off chance that the child is unable to move their tongue or keep it in the right position, they may bite rather than suck on the areola. This can cause huge areola pain and interfere with a child's capacity to get breast milk, resulting in insufficient nourishment.
  • Speech hardships: Tongue-tie can meddle with the child's capacity to make certain sounds: 't,' 'd,' 'z,' 's,' 'th,' 'r' and 'l.'
  • Helpless oral hygiene: For a more established youngster or grown-up, tongue-tie can make it hard to clear unwanted food from the teeth, which can add to tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Difficulties with other oral exercises: Tongue-tie can meddle with exercises, for example, licking an ice cream, licking the lips, kissing, or playing a wind instrument.

How do medical professionals diagnose tongue-tie?

Tongue-tie is generally diagnosed during a physical examination of the child. For newborns, the specialist may utilize a screening tool to observe different parts of the tongue's appearance and capability to move.


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Medically Reviewed on 6/15/2022
"Tongue Tie." July 2021. Kids Health. <>.