What is a TOT?

What is a TOT?

Haven’t heard of a TOT in relation to the mouth? What comes to mind when you hear TOT? For me, its Napoleon Dynamite which is perfect because that sweet man loves his tots and he also struggles with tethered oral tissues. Napoleons open mouth and forward head posture is a sign that he may indeed be struggling with a possible tongue tie or buccal cheek tie. So why does this matter and why are my dentists blogging about it?

A TOT is an acronym for Tethered Oral Tissues. Our tongue and lips are secured to our oral mucosa by a band of connective tissue, better known as a frenum. These tissue attachments can cause issues if they are too restrictive or tight. Some researchers estimate the prevalence of a tongue-tie to be between 4-10% of our population. The tongue may seem insignificant at first glance, but this muscle is very underestimated for its substantial role in overall health.

It is likely that you or someone you know is affected by this condition and doesn’t even know it! A tongue tie can be the hidden reason behind nursing difficulties in babies, feeding problems in toddlers, speech issues in children, and even migraine headaches and neck pain in adults. This tight tissue can result in problems with swallowing, clenching and grinding, facial growth and development, proper dental hygiene, and can exacerbate sleep apnea symptoms. So all along you thought the phrase, ‘tongue-tied’ was just an old saying. No it is a physical restriction that can cause health issues that interfere with your long term quality of life!