Tongue Disorders in Children

Tongue is a flexible organ of our body which helps in eating and drinking. There are some common tongue problems that are seen in children such as tongue tie, oral thrush and tonsillitis. We will discuss about them briefly.

Tongue tie: Tongue tie is also called Ankyloglossia. It is a condition where tissue attaches to the tongue to the bottom of the mouth. It restricts the movement of tongue.

  • Causes
    • The causes of tongue tie is not clear but it is mainly due to the attachment of tissue to the tongue tip
  • Problems
    • Tongue movements are restricted
    • Difficulty in pronouncing some letters
    • Difficulty to clean food from teeth with the help of tongue
  • Diagnosis
    • Diagnosis of tongue tie can be done by physical examination of tongue movements. In infants, tongue depressor is used to lift the tongue tip
  • Treatment
    • Tongue tie can be treated by surgery called Frenotomy
    • Before the surgery, doctor gives anesthesia to numb the area. Then cuts the tissue attached to the tongue tip and stitches are made on the wound. The stitches will dissolve in later days
    • Surgery is also done using laser technique. In this laser cuts and seals the wound.
    • Later doctor teaches your child how to exercise with tongue to improve speaking

Oral thrush: Oral thrush is commonly seen in infants. It is white patches seen on the tongue. Oral thrush is also seen in mouth. It is caused by the fungus candida albicans. It is non-contagious.

  • Causes
    • Caused by fungus candida albicans
    • Children with asthma medications
  • Symptoms
    • White color patches on tongue
    • Irritation occurs during feeding
  • Treatment
    • Anti fungal solutions to rinse the mouth
    • Application of anti fungal gels on the tongue
    • Though it can be treated, oral thrush can be prevented by rinsing the pacifiers with hot water

Tonsillitis: Tonsils helps to fight against germs to prevent entry of germs into mouth. Infection of tonsils is called tonsillitis.

  • Symptoms
    • Red and swollen tonsils
    • Throat pain
    • Loss of Apatite
    • Difficulty in eating and drinking
  • Diagnosis
    • Diagnosis can be done by physical examination of the tonsils whether any swelling are there or not
    • Throat culture taken from the throat
    • Rapid streptococci test to examine the presence of streptococci bacteria
  • Treatment
    • Antibiotics are used to treat tonsillitis if it is caused by streptococci bacteria
    • If the tonsils are too hard for more than 1 year, it can be treated by surgery

Though tongue problems in children have treatment, it can be prevented by washing the children’s pacifiers with hot water to prevent contamination.