A major part of proper chewing and swallowing skills is the strength and range of motion of the tongue. This is because the chewing mechanism involves several steps the tongue carries out. The tongue manipulates the food within the oral cavity through lateralizing it to both sides of the mouth during mastication or chewing. Additionally, it forms a cohesive bolus or “ball” and propels it towards the back of the mouth to be transported to the esophagus. When the tongue or lingual muscles are weak or have a limited range of motion due to a shortened lingual frenum or tongue tie, this process cannot be carried out as effectively.
In order to improve this strength or range of motion, oral motor or myofunctional therapy may be recommended. Oral motor exercises are particularly effective for strengthening lingual muscles and improving range of motion. Myofunctional therapy is often recommended to assist individuals with “ankyloglossia” also known as a shortened lingual frenum.
You may be wondering, how does the Spot Pal play a role in this? Often what is learned in therapy is not being generalized or carried over to daily life. This is problematic because consistency is key for retraining muscle memory. The Spot Pal offers an easy solution to this as it reminds the tongue of its proper placement thus improving oral motor awareness and overall chewing and swallowing skills.