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High Palate and Resting Tongue Posture

As you probably know by now a tongue tie is a condition characterized by restricted tongue movement due to a tight, thick, or improperly positioned frenulum, which can have significant implications for oral development. One such consequence is the formation of a high palate.


What is a High Palate?

A high palate refers to an abnormally elevated and/or narrow roof of the mouth. Tongue ties can contribute to the development of a high palate due to limited tongue mobility.




How Does a Tongue Tie Contribute?

To understand how a tongue tie may contribute to the formation of a high palate, we must understand how the tongue contributes to proper palate formation. In utero, the tongue develops early. For the rest of the pregnancy, as well as postnatally, the tongue rests on the roof of the mouth. This pressure helps widen the jaw and palate.


When the tongue is restricted, it may not rest naturally against the palate during rest and commonly rests on the floor of the mouth. This lack of proper contact and pressure of the tongue to the roof of the mouth can impair the growth and widening of the palate. Thus, resulting in a higher and narrower shape.



Consequences of a High Palate:

A high palate can have several consequences for oral health and overall well-being. In infants it can lead to feeding struggles due to a poor latch and an increased swallowing of air when feeding, leading to excessive gas and reflux. It can also affect speech clarity, breathing patterns, chewing efficiency, and even the position and alignment of teeth. Additionally, a high palate may contribute to the development of other dental issues, such as malocclusion or crowded teeth.


While a high palate can form without the presence of a tongue tie, it is one major consideration in why ties need to be treated and proper oral function needs to be restored as soon as possible. Recognizing the signs and seeking early intervention are crucial for addressing these concerns. By addressing tongue tie through appropriate treatment, such as a frenectomy, it is possible to restore proper tongue mobility, stimulate normal palate growth, and minimize the risk of long-term oral health issues.


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References:

Crumbie, L. (2022, November 30). Tongue. Kenhub. https://www.kenhub.com/en/library/anatomy/tongue


Jain P, Rathee M. Embryology, Tongue. [Updated 2022 Aug 8]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK547697/




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