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Ankyloglossia (Tongue-tie) written by Dr. Ejike Udeze


Most of us have heard of the term tongue-tie. To most it’s stammering, or inability to speak due to over excitement. Ankyloglossia more commonly known as ‘Tongue-tie’ is the attachment of the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth thereby limiting the tongue’s mobility. Ankyloglossia (AG) is a condition present at birth in some children preventing them from crying out well, or sucking breast even. This breast-feeding difficulty can manifest as poor suckling by the infant(leading to poor weight gain), or nipple pains felt by the mother especially during breast-feeding.

If it is not removed on time it can adversely affect speech development (especially interfering with articulation), as well as the oral hygiene. There are also psycho social implications of AG if left untreated. Later in life there might arise problems with kissing, which can be rather embarrassing. Inability to lick one’s lips or lick ice-cream, play a musical wind instrument, etc can all be socially disconcerting for the older child and adult with tongue-tie.
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Degrees of Tongue-tie
There are different degrees of tongue-tie depending on how free the tongue is. The worst being complete fixation of the tongue to the floor of the mouth.

Treatment of AG can range from watchful observation, to surgical removal of the attachment. Speech therapy may also be indicated.
Hence the need for visiting your pediatrician/Doctor who decides the best line of action to take.


Ejike Udeze is a health personnel at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH). Ejike is always in search of new medical discoveries and breakthrough. You can reach him on Facebook  by clicking here or with his name “Ejike Udeze.


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