The tongue, throat and speech box have a unique relationship in a newborn.

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By:

Dr. Steven Lin

Your tongue is the most intricate muscle system in the body. It provides support for your airways, cervical spine, and directly signal the brain through cranial nerves.

Another great post by #DrStevenLin
Your tongue is the most intricate muscle system in the body. It provides support for your airways, cervical spine, and directly signal the brain through cranial nerves.

It takes up a large proportion of the human homunculus. We'll cover this in the next few posts.
The muscle system sits in the middle of your jawbone like a hammock slung between trees.

It’s held in place by an incredible network of muscles. Each half of the tongue contains two sets of muscles. So in total, there are four different sets of muscles. Left, right, inside and outside.

These muscles play an incredible role in your day to day life.

Humans swallow food about 150 times in 24 hours. But unconscious swallowing of saliva occurs every 30 seconds while awake and every minute during sleep, about 1,600-2,000 times in 24 hours.

The tongue, throat and speech box have a unique relationship in a newborn.

For the first 3-4 months, an infant’s throat is different from an adult’s.

The epiglottis is a flap of elastic tissue which attaches to the top of the larynx (speech box). In these first months, the epiglottis reaches up and touches the soft palate (back of the throat). The baby’s tongue is now entirely contained in the oral cavity of the newborn.

During feeding, the larynx elevates (attached to the epiglottis) and locks into the nasal airways. This allows a newborn to both swallow and breathes at the same time during breastfeeding.

The tongue presses and signals the child’s palate to grow, which forms the foundations of their upper teeth and nasal airway.

As we grow and develop this intimate relationship between the tongue feeding, breathing, and the brain remains.

One of the quickest ways to check if you have ‘low tongue posture is to check your swallow response. First, hold your lips out with your fingers, bite the teeth together and swallow. You should not feel or see any movement of the neck or facial muscles and the tongue should control all liquid in the oral cavity.

If you see any liquid or its uncomfortable or you see the tongue pressing forward (it should go up), you likely have a partial tongue thrust swallow.

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