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is also called tongue-tie. It is a condition that prevents your child's tongue from moving as freely as it should. The tongue is connected to the floor of the mouth by a thin piece of tissue called the frenulum. Your child's frenulum may be shorter, thicker, or tighter than it should be. Ankyloglossia can range from mild to severe depending on how much it decreases movement of the tongue.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your child refuses to feed at all.
  • Your child shows signs of dehydration from not feeding well. These signs may include urinating less than usual, crying without tears, or having dry, chapped lips. Your infant may have a sunken fontanel (soft spot) on the top of the head.

Contact your child's healthcare provider if:

  • Your baby has problems with latching onto your breast during breastfeeding.
  • Your baby is not satisfied after feedings, or you are having severe nipple pain when breastfeeding.
  • You are concerned that your baby is not getting enough breast milk or formula during feedings.
  • You find breastfeeding painful.
  • Your child has problems swallowing food.
  • Your child has problems saying some words or speaking.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.


may not be needed if your baby's ankyloglossia is mild and he does not have feeding problems. The inside of his mouth will change in size and shape during the first 4 to 5 years of life. When his teeth start to come in, his tongue grows and will narrow at the tip. Over time, his frenulum may grow, stretch, and even come loose on its own. Your child may need surgery if his speech or feeding problems are severe. Surgery may be used to cut or remove the frenulum.

Risks of ankyloglossia:

  • Your baby may have problems latching onto the breast during breastfeeding, or problems bottle feeding. Your baby may not get enough milk because of the condition. Breastfed babies may suck even harder and this may cause breast pain in mothers. Older children may have problems with swallowing chewed food or clearing food from the mouth.
  • Food may get trapped inside your child's mouth. This can cause a bad smell and start tooth decay. Some teeth may not form well. Your child may also have spaces between the bottom teeth.
  • Ankyloglossia will not prevent or delay your child's ability to talk. This condition may only cause problems in how your child can say or pronounce some words. Words with the tongue sounds may be hard to say, such as the T, D, L, TH, and ST sounds.
  • Your child may have problems doing what other children can easily do. These may include licking an ice cream cone or sticking the tongue out completely. Your child may also have problems playing wind instruments such as the flute.

Follow up with your child's healthcare provider as directed:

Your child may need to follow up with his healthcare provider to make sure he is eating and healing well. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Ankyloglossia (Ambulatory Care)

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.