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Hold Your Tongue!

Did you know your body can be in one of two modes depending on your tongue posture? Did you know your body goes into survival mode when your tongue is not sealed to the roof of your mouth and immediately goes into healing mode when your tongue rests on the roof of your mouth? This is the job of the autonomic nervous system and the position of your tongue is key to deciding its current state. 

 

The roof of your mouth is full of cranial nerves which promote a calm and meditative state when stimulated by the tongue. Consciously keeping your tongue sealed to the roof of your mouth when in a resting state helps your body heal. This is not only important during acupuncture or meditative practices, but also in performing casual tasks like washing the dishes or folding laundry. After a bit of practice and mindfulness, this reflex will come naturally. This is especially ideal for sleep as having an open airway for nasal breathing will cause you to get deeper, more restorative rest. 

 

When your tongue is in a low position in the mouth it falls into your airway, which inhibits your breathing. This is why your body goes into survival mode and causes you to take shorter and more shallow breaths. Correcting this behavior will lead to more optimal breathing patterns. This will also stop you from grinding your teeth during all hours of the day as the jaw will be slightly pushed down by the pressure of the tongue on the roof of the mouth. 

 

Your tongue should be touching all of the hard palate and soft palate. It will probably take practice if you are not used to it, but the benefits are shocking. Your soft palate is innervated by the vagus nerve which is the only cranial nerve that runs throughout the body to many other organs. 

 

Proper tongue posture keeps the muscles of the neck supported and strong. Ideally, proper tongue posture is taught at a young age which will ensure proper jaw and facial development, straight teeth and symmetrical features.

 

Improving tongue posture might sound scary, but you can start practicing it at home.

 

First exercise

  • Place the tip of your tongue up against the roof of your mouth, which is located just behind and above your top teeth.
  • Pull the rest of your tongue to rest flat against the roof of the mouth using suction.
  • Close the mouth and seal the lips.
  • Hold this posture and breathe normally through the nose.

Second exercise  – this helps you find where the back of your tongue should rest.

  • Start with making a big, cheezy grin and raising your eyebrows.
  • Try to swallow while keeping your teeth clenched.

To see results from both of these exercises, practice them several times throughout the day. If you do so, our muscle memory kicks in and our tongue raises to the correct position naturally.

Teach your kids these techniques and you will save thousands on braces and orthodontic treatment as well as the myriad of negative health outcomes rom having improper tongue placement. 

 

References: 

How to train our tongue? Medindia. (2021, September 29). Retrieved January 30, 2023, from https://www.medindia.net/news/healthinfocus/how-to-train-our-tongue-203550-1.htm

iSmile Dental Care. (2022, April 7). Proper resting tongue position: Yes, that’s.. iSmile Dental Care. Retrieved January 30, 2023, from https://www.ismileva.com/proper-resting-tongue-position-yes-thats-a-thing/

Sutton, J. (2019, July 17). Tongue posture exercises and how they may affect your cheekbones. Healthline. Retrieved January 30, 2023, from https://www.healthline.com/health/tongue-posture

Tongue posture: What is proper tongue posture, and why is it so important? Eric Davis Dental. (n.d.). Retrieved January 30, 2023, from https://www.ericdavisdental.com/faqs-and-blog/blog/tongue-posture-what-is-proper-tongue-posture-and-why-is-it-so-important/