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Speech Dynamics, Inc.

90 Davis Lane

Ellijay, GA 30540

951-315-2145

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Something for Everyone - Parents - Professionals - Clients

Three Secrets of a GREAT Swallow

Swallowing is one of three oral functions that we all do:  swallowing, chewing, and speaking.  They all use the mouth and the same mouth-parts, but they’re very different.  One swallow takes mere moments.  Chewing and speech takes longer.

 

First, although the movements for each are unique, it’s important to know that all oral functions are based on two things:  stabilization and mobilization.  It’s rather like writing.  You hold the pencil in 

What Does YOUR Mouth Do When it's Doing Nothing?

Everyone’s mouth rests in between talking; therefore, everyone has a “mouth resting posture.”  It’s where your lips, tongue, and jaw rest when you’re not eating, drinking, or talking.  The lips, tongue, and jaw automatically go to their resting locations and maintain those positions throughout the day and night. 

 

Your mouth resting posture helps your swallowing and speech.  Here’s why:

What is Tongue Thrust?

The term “tongue thrust” refers to an abnormal, tongue-forward swallow.  The tongue moves horizontally toward and against the front teeth during the swallow, instead of moving vertically up to the hard palate. 

 

There are other terms used for an anterior, horizontal swallow:  a reverse swallow, an infantile swallow (referring to the infant’s tongue that moves horizontally when swallowing), and a juvenile swallow.  They all pretty much mean the same thing.

What Do You Know About Your Nose?

When switching from mouth breathing to nose breathing, it may not make sense to some.  “What different does it really make?  They both work, and besides, I can get more air through my mouth.”

 

Good points, but there are several important reasons that everyone needs to breathe through their nose—reasons that can affect your health.  When you chronically breathe through your mouth, you miss out on the following important functions and benefits.

Swallowing & Speaking: Important Differences

Although swallowing and speaking are created with the same oral mechanism, they are vastly different.

 

From beginning to end, swallowing involves the careful coordination of several muscles.  It’s sometimes considered a fairly automatic function, but can be consciously modified by the swallower.  It is one, discreet, almost-overlapping, preparation and propulsion oral maneuver:  Suction:  Bite, Squeeze, Lift.

The Palatal Expansion Device

From a myofunctional therapist’s perspective, a palatal expansion device is a good thing.  When the dental arch (the “U” shape that contains the top teeth) has been widened, there is ample room for the tongue to rest, swallow and speak. 

 

The device is typically put on prior to braces to widen the upper dental arch so the top and bottom teeth match (they interdigitate; the cusps fit into the grooves).  The lower dental arch can be widened as well, it’s happens less common, however.

Intra-Oral Suction: THE Most Important Part of Your Swallow

Most people who do a tongue thrust swallow gather their food and liquid to prepare the swallow do so incorrectly.  Their intra-oral suction is either different or absent. 

 

Prior and during the swallow, their tongue is forward, and with the help of the lips they try to create a type of suction to move the liquid back.  This is why sometimes the water falls out when lips are pried open during the drinking evaluation.  The water is still up front, when it should be heading back to the to

Nasal Issues That We Can't See but a Doctor Can

If you have tried for weeks to encourage the child to breathe through his nose, but to no avail, there may be other, less visible causes.  There may be partial or full nasal obstruction. 

 

I don’t want to ask a child to do something that he cannot physically do.  And do keep in mind, if there is complete nasal obstruction you’ll hear it in their hypo-nasal speech.

Does Everyone that has a Tongue Thrust Also have a Speech Problem?

No.  Not everyone that has a tongue thrust swallow has a frontal lisp, and not everyone that has a frontal lisp has a tongue thrust swallow—or at least one that is always identified and diagnosed.

Since a tongue thrust swallow and a lisp are both oral functions, and they both are characterized by horizontal tongue movements, one would think, because of that tongue-down commonality that anyone and everyone with a lowered, horizontal tongue

Can Anyone Become a Myofunctional Therapist?

In a word, no; but the important operative word is, however, “become.”  It’s all about qualifications and training:  formal training (conventions, seminars, and courses that lead to certification) and informal training (on-the-job training, reading and studying).  It’s a learning process that takes place over-time; a matter of years.  Our clients deserve quality services.  By way of explanation regarding quality control, here’s a bit of history.

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