What is Tongue Rest Posture?
I talk about the importance of “tongue on the roof of the mouth” quite a bit and decided it would be a good idea to expand on the subject. It’s only been over the last several years that dental professionals have been learning about the impact our “tongue rest posture” has on our oral health and overall health. It’s estimated that as many as 50% of people have incorrect tongue posture and myofunctional therapists are in the forefront of identifying these patients, coordinating their care and developing individualized treatment plans for them. It’s not as easy as you may think…
Proper Tongue Posture
Just like we learn how to sit and stand for good ergonomic neck and back health, we can practice resting our tongue on the roof of our mouth. The entire tongue should press slightly against the tissue, ½ inch behind the front teeth, lips are closed and your teeth are resting slightly apart. There should be no pressure on your lower or upper front teeth. If you feel pressure, the tongue may move the teeth. We swallow 1600 – 2000 times a day. The tongue exerts approximately 20 pounds of pressure on the teeth. You can see the damage the tongue can have on moving teeth!
The benefits of proper tongue posture, if caught early with children, will help to expand the palate making room for the tongue, help in preventing crowded teeth, improve airway space in the sinuses, stabilize the lower jaw and improve oral and overall health.
Awareness is the first step. Develop a “code word” as a reminder to keep lips together and the tongue on the roof of the mouth. This works for both adults and children. I use the word "Spot". This is a fun way to have friends and family remind each other to have good tongue posture. Placing stickers around the house can also serve as prompts to keep your tongue on the "Spot" and lips together. Be creative and get everyone in on this new habit.
So... get ready to look better, feel better and breathe better. Tongue up and lips together!