Tongue-tie (ankyloglossia)


Tonguetie, medically known as ankyloglossia, is a condition characterized by the tongue being attached to the floor of the mouth, which can restrict its range of motion. It occurs when there is an abnormally short, thick, or tight band of tissue called the lingual frenulum that connects the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth.  

This condition can potentially interfere with breastfeeding and cause difficulties in sticking out the tongue. It can also impact eating, speaking, and swallowing abilities in children. While some cases of tonguetie may not cause cause problem, others may require a simple surgical procedure for correction. 


The symptoms of tonguetie can vary in severity, ranging from mild to severe. One noticeable sign is that your child’s tongue may have a heartshaped appearance or a notch in it. However, in many instances, ankyloglossia is mild and does not significantly impact daily activities. 

Signs and symptoms of tonguetie include: 

  • Elevating the tongue to touch the upper teeth or moving it laterally. 
  • Challenges in pronouncing sounds that necessitate tongue contact with the roof of the mouth or upper front teeth. In adults, this may result in unclear speech. 
  • Difficulty latching when breastfeeding. 
  • Difficulties in swallowing. 
  • Trouble licking ice cream. 
  • Challenges in playing a wind instrument. 
  • Inability to extend the tongue beyond the lower front teeth. 
  • An appearance of the tongue that seems abnormal or deviated. 


Usually, the lingual frenulum separates prior to birth, giving the tongue complete freedom of movement. The lingual frenulum stays affixed to the tongue’s base when tonguetied. Although some tonguetie cases have been linked to specific genetic elements, the exact reason why this occurs is still unknown.  

Risk factors

While tongue tie can affect anyone, it is more commonly observed in males than females. In some cases, there is a familial tendency for tongue tie to occur.