The tongue has an important role in the mouth. When assessing for a tongue tie, it is crucial to remember that we need to look at the function of the tongue. The tongue should be able to move side to side in the mouth (think about the role of the tongue clearing food out of the molars or gathering food to create a bolus), should be able to stick out (in English we see this with the “th” speech sound), should be able to retract into the mouth (this is a crucial movement needed for “k”, “g”, and “r” speech sounds), and should be able to elevate to rest on the roof of the mouth (crucial for opening your airway and shaping the oral cavity).
As you sit there wondering and questioning if somebody you love has a tongue tie, make sure to look at more than one function. Yes, you can most definitely check to see if they are able to stick their tongue out past their lips, but don’t stop there. In fact, if you are talking to a medical professional that does end the conversation at that point, keep in mind that this might not be an area that they have extensive education in and ask more questions. It is very important to think of the role of the tongue and how the tongue has to work when you are at rest or sleeping, when you are speaking, when you are chewing, and when you are swallowing.