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Check under the tongue! Tongue tie, or ankyloglossia , is characterized by an overly tight lingual frenulum, the cord of tissue that anchors the tongue to the bottom of the mouth. It occurs in 4 to 11 percent of newborns. A lip tie—a related condition—is an unusually tight labial frenulum, the piece of tissue that keeps the upper lip tethered close to the gum line. Tongue and lip ties often occur in tandem. To breastfeed effectively, babies need to create negative pressure in a word, a vacuum on the breast. This differs from the compression that some babies with limited tongue mobility use, effectively squeezing the milk out rather than sucking.

This compression can be painful for mothers, and breastfeeding pain can compound the stress of the exhausting first weeks of parenting. And cases of severe tongue tie have been linked to issues such as failure to gain weight. They might call a local lactation consultant to help. The procedure, called a frenotomy, frenulotomy, or tongue-tie revision, is a relatively straightforward one. Read: Parenting looks nothing like what the experts say. Babies tend to be quite young when the procedure is performed, typically less than three months old.

And the results can be immediate.


After a frenotomy, some babies have an improved latch , which makes breastfeeding less painful for mothers. My son has both a tongue and lip tie, as diagnosed by a lactation consultant shortly after his birth. After helping my newborn son latch, she spent the next 20 minutes telling my husband and I that we needed to take him to a pediatric dentist immediately to have his tongue tie lasered, or he would never latch properly, would have trouble eating, would need braces and probably develop a speech impediment, and could develop craniofacial issues or sleep apnea.

After his feed, the consultant weighed my son, and was astonished to find that he ate three ounces in 12 minutes—a huge amount for a four-day-old.


Plus, our pediatrician was unconcerned about it. Typically, the lingual frenulum separates before birth, allowing the tongue free range of motion. With tongue-tie, the lingual frenulum remains attached to the bottom of the tongue. Why this happens is largely unknown, although some cases of tongue-tie have been associated with certain genetic factors. Although tongue-tie can affect anyone, it's more common in boys than girls. Tongue-tie sometimes runs in families.

Tongue-tie can affect a baby's oral development, as well as the way he or she eats, speaks and swallows.

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This content does not have an English version. This content does not have an Arabic version. Tongue-tie Tongue-tie ankyloglossia is a condition in which an unusually short, thick or tight band of tissue lingual frenulum tethers the bottom of the tongue's tip to the floor of the mouth. Request an Appointment at Mayo Clinic.

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Tongue tie (ankyloglossia): What you need to know

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Tongue tie (ankyloglossia): What you need to know

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Build a chain of words by adding one letter at a time. Definition of tongue-tied. First Known Use of tongue-tied , in the meaning defined at sense 1.