The Trouble with Our Tongues
With the month of May being “National Better Hearing and Speech Month,” your dentist in Atlanta wanted to take the opportunity to discuss the importance of the latter half of this: speech. Every day your teeth, tongue, lips, cheeks and rest of your mouth plays a huge factor in the way that you speak by combining multiple complex systems in hopes of articulating a clear result.
Sometimes, however, there are mouth related conditions, such as OMDs, Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders, that can negatively impact speech.
What are OMDs and how do they affect my speech?
OMDs correlate to the tongue’s placement in the mouth either while speaking or swallowing. It may move too far back or forward, in between the teeth during speech or rest. This can result in an outward tongue thrust and speech impediment with certain sounds (such as “ch” “sh” or “th”) that can dissipate with age, but can also stay around until corrected.
Causes of OMDs?
Although allergies, enlarged tonsils, and heredity can cause OMDs, so can some dental related issues. Chronic thumb sucking, teeth grinding and biting at other objects, especially while still young, can alter the shape of the jaw and teeth- that may lead to OMDs. These causes may also lead to other orthodontic and dental work being required as the patient ages, as well.
How are OMDs diagnosed and/or treated?
A dentist or orthodontist may be able to diagnose OMDs when the tongues continual pressure affects alignment or eruption of the teeth. Consistent airway blockage due to this behavior could also be a warning sign.
Some of the best forms of treatment are related to behavioral therapy. These means will help the patient increase strength in, coordinate with and become aware of the muscles in the mouth and tongue, helping them to speak and swallow easier.
Disorders like OMDs are just some of the ways that the mouth can affect speech and overall impact an individual’s life. Other issues such as TMJ disorders, oral cancer, saliva reproduction issues and various misalignments of the teeth can also affect speech, and be diagnosed and potentially treated with the assistance of dental professionals like your Atlanta Dentist.
To further discuss the importance of your mouth in speech, or to schedule an appointment today, please call (903) 796-9051.