Ankloglossia, commonly known as tongue tied, is when the frenulum (the little piece of skin that connects your tongue to the bottom of your mouth) is too short. While it’s not wildly common, it’s not an uncommon childhood occurrence either. Ankloglossia is usually caught in the first few years of life.
Clipping it is called a frenulectomy and is very quick, outpatient procedure performed by an ENT. This procedure would only need to be done if the frenulum is short enough to be causing problems.
If it’s really short it can interfere not only with speech but with eating (because the tongue is used to move food around in the mouth). Another professional to consult on the subject would be a speech therapist; a speech therapist can tell if the tongue tie is affecting the ability to speak. The tongue moves around quite a bit in order to speak. Think about how to produce the “L” sound if the tongue can’t reach the roof of the mouth.
If parents suspect their child has a short frenulum, then the sooner they get to an ENT, the better. The longer it takes to address this issue, the more therapy the child will need because he or she is learning wrong ways of articulating.
A simple test to have the child stick his or her tongue out and attempt to move it up and down and from side to side as far as it will go.
The Early Childhood Intervention program of LifePath Systems provides free developmental assessments to children between birth and age 3 in Collin County. Be sure to let them know the issue when referring so that they can send out the appropriate professionals.
Here is a video sample of a tongue protrustion test, get your child to stick his tongue out and move it up, down and to each side. If verbal instructions don’t suffice, try putting some powdered candy on the outside of the mouth and have him lick it off.