Hi I’m emailing you today because i have a really bad problem of sucking on my tongue. now that I am older I realize that a lot of my nieces and nephews and cousin are doing the same thing to. I just want to know some ways to help me stop sucking on my tongue and my family from it to. i do have allergies and my tonsils are not swollen but my allergies are only seasonal. Even when I’m not experiencing any allergies symptoms i still tend to suck on my tongue. Please help, it bothers me so bad, there are some days when it gets really bad and I have to chew on gum to stop myself from sucking on my tongue because it starts to hurt my jaw.
Hi, This isn’t a real simple question or answer…especially when I can’t see you in person to see if there could be any physical/structural reason for the habit. If a lot of people in your family do the same thing, it could be a habit learned from watching the others, but it could also be something that is genetic (for example, the size of your tongues compared to the sizes of your hard palate or other structures. It is certainly more difficult to plan a program for tongue sucking than it is for thumb sucking or other habits where we can intervene and use reminders. Because you “always” have your tongue right there in the mouth, it is difficult to remember not to suck it since much of our day is spent doing things automatically. And we sure can’t put a sign up in our mouths as a reminder! If a client comes to me with this type of habit, here is what I do:
- A thorough oral examination to understand the function and sizes, etc. of all of the oral cavity; how well the tongue can move and make itself into different forms; what the breathing situation is, and much more
- Then we talk about what oral habits are, what damage, if any, they can do to someone;
- We talk about where the tongue and lips and jaw “should” be when they are not in the act of talking or eating.
- Then I draw up a plan to get all the muscles in the best condition possible, followed by a program to teach the client where to place the structures at rest.
When they reach this point, it is much more possible to stop the sucking habit because we have formed new, desirable habits to take the place of the undesirable one. I know this is probably disappointing, but I have to be honest and tell you that I know of no simple way other than common approaches such as you have tried: chewing gum, sucking candies, etc…..and these are not necessarily good for you overall in many other ways. Let me know where you live and if I have a graduate of my program anywhere near you, I’ll let you know. Sincerely, Sandra R. Holtzman