Proper tongue posture is something most of us give little thought to. Your tongue is in your mouth which must mean it’s doing its job, right? Wrong. The truth is, the placement and resting position of your tongue is something worth paying attention to. The way you hold your tongue in your mouth can make or break your health!
The ideal and “correct” placement is to place the tongue against the roof of the mouth instead of letting it rest at the bottom of the mouth. Failure to do so can result in unnatural changes in your face shape, which is why tongue posture exercises are so helpful. To start off with, let’s take a look at how and why tongue posture and facial shape are connected.
Is Your Tongue Posture Changing Your Face Shape?
Tongue posture can even have an impact on your facial structure and shape, especially from childhood. Most of the connection between tongue posture and face shape relates back to the teeth. When you place the tongue against the roof of the mouth, it’s important not to push too hard against the back of the teeth. This can create issues with alignment in the future. For this reason, the tongue should touch the roof of the mouth in the rest position while remaining about half an inch behind the front teeth. This area is called your hard palate. Without the tongue in the right place on the hard palate, it will begin to narrow. That’s why the tongue is so important: it keeps the palate widened.
The narrowing of the palate that occurs from improper tongue posture can make your jaw and cheekbones weaker and unable to properly support the face. As a result, the chin and cheekbones may protrude or become less prominent over a long period of time. To reverse the effects, some people recommend the practice of mewing to strengthen facial muscles and create a wider palate. But the issues caused by improper tongue posture don’t stop at a narrow palate. You could be swallowing incorrectly, too.
A Hard Fact to Swallow: You Might Be Swallowing Wrong
The tongue is an extremely important muscle that impacts other parts of the body far beyond the mouth. Incorrect tongue positioning can affect the sinuses, due to the facial deformities it causes. Your sinuses are directly connected to the way you swallow. When swallowing, the tongue should move up and then back as it moves food toward the back of your throat. This motion should mimic a wave.
Many people swallow by moving their tongues forward and down, which is referred to as “tongue thrusting.” This negatively changes the natural shape of the teeth and jaw. Since the palate is connected to the sinuses, a narrowed palate complicates breathing and airway function. This leads to snoring and sleep apnea. But the problems don’t stop there.
Tongue, Eyes, and Teeth: They’re All Connected
Did you know that your tongue can affect the eyes and teeth? Improper tongue posture leads to vision problems since your eye sockets are connected to your palate. The position of your tongue can literally impact how your eyes rest in your head. Furthermore, you may experience vision issues and improperly positioned eyes. Since improper tongue posture leads to mouth breathing, dental problems including cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease are all possible.
Your tongue can even cause bad posture in the body. You can develop a recessed chin and a forward thrust of the head where the head sits further forward than it should simply by having improper tongue posture. This causes neck and shoulder pain and tension or headaches. That’s why you should work to correct your tongue posture as soon as possible. Let’s go over what the upsides are to correcting the way you hold your tongue in your mouth.
The Benefits of Proper Tongue Posture
Orofacial myofunctional therapy, also called OMT, focuses on facial and oral disorders that have an impact on the whole body or that may impact behaviors. This therapy helps people improve their function when eating, breathing, sleeping, and even sleeping by improving tongue posture and mobility as well as orofacial coordination.
The first thing that many orofacial myofunctional therapists focus on is establishing proper tongue posture. This practice helps to improve breathing, especially through the nose, swallowing, speech, the ability to enunciate certain sounds and words, and alignment of the teeth and jaw.
When you begin to place your tongue in the right position, you can experience these same benefits. If you’re tired of snoring yourself awake at night, having poor posture, or never being able to breathe out of your nose, you need to focus on your tongue placement. Luckily, the following tongue posture exercise can help you get started.
Tongue Posture Exercise
Improving your tongue posture might sound intimidating, but you can start practicing it at home just by being mindful of where your tongue is resting throughout the day. Check-in with yourself often and take note of where your tongue is positioned in the mouth. Make any necessary changes to correct the placement.
Beyond that, you can try this tongue posture exercise to avoid all of the perils associated with incorrect tongue placement. You’re probably thinking “this sounds silly” or “how the heck can I exercise my tongue?” The tongue is a muscle. Just like any muscle, if you don’t exercise it, it will be weak and ineffective.
First, place the tip of your tongue up against the hard palate, which is located just behind and above your top teeth. Then, using suction, pull the rest of your tongue to rest flat against the roof of the mouth. Close the mouth and seal the lips. Hold this posture and breathe normally through the nose.
If you’re a chronic mouth breather, this may take some getting used to, especially if you have never paid much attention to the way your tongue is placed. Repeat this practice several times throughout the day until the placement becomes a habit you don’t have to consciously think about. Don’t forget to improve your tongue posture during sleep, either!
Breathe Easier With Mouth Tape During Sleep
You can’t keep the tongue in the proper place if your mouth is falling open while you’re asleep. Your tongue will fall back into your airway, undoing all of your hard work to keep your tongue where it needs to be during the day. That’s where mouth tape comes in handy.
It sounds insane, but taping the mouth at night can help you maintain proper tongue posture in your dreams. Past that, it helps to ensure that you nasal breathe throughout the night instead of mouth breathing. Why is mouth breathing a problem, you ask? Well, it can cause:
That’s why mouth tape is your best defence against mouth breathing and poor tongue posture.
You Snooze, You Win!
To keep nasal breathing during sleep and maintaining proper tongue posture, mouth tape strips are a godsend. They’re hypoallergenic, latex-free, and most important of all, they help to maintain a proper lip seal during sleep that promotes proper tongue posture and nasal breathing. That means no snoring and no dry mouth when you wake up! Unlock all of the benefits of proper tongue posture today.
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