Oral Motor Red Flags


If you are struggling to figure out your child’s pick eating habits, oral motor may not be an area you have explored enough. In fact, I can almost guarantee you haven’t explored this enough! Why? Because most people pay it no mind. I know I didn’t for many years until I took more focused training courses. 

I talk a lot about ties in my podcast and newsletter when I discuss oral motor, it’s just bound to come up. It’s been so prevalent in my work that it’s impossible to ignore. I get into some theories about why ties are becoming so “popular” these days. 

A tongue or lip tie occurs when the connective tissue under the tongue doesn’t recede in utero and attaches further forward than it’s supposed to. In infancy, it can impact breastfeeding, and as the child grows, it can impact feeding, speech, sleep, and result in the need for orthodontic treatment.

Here are some red flags on a possible tongue and/or lip tie that may need to be addressed:

  • Open mouth posture
  • Low forward resting posture (tongue-thrusting) when swallowing
  • High and narrow palate
  • Crowding or crooked teeth
  • Sleep issues (sleep apnea, restless sleep or trouble getting to sleep)
  • Trouble clearing food in one swallow (food is left on the tongue)
  • Torticollis in infancy
  • Enlarged tonsils

Impacts of Oral Motor Issues

  • Breastfeeding difficulty (poor latch/suction, painful for mom, low supply)
  • Feeding concerns, including picky eating
  • Speech (misarticulation of sounds)
  • Sleep issues (mouth breathing, sleep apnea, or even bed wetting)
  • Orthodontic issues (including shifting following braces or a retainer)

If you feel as though your child has some of these red flags, look into getting a myofunctional evaluation with someone who has training and specializes in oral motor issues. 

You can also listen to the podcast episode where I break this down further! Click the link here. 

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