Tongue resting position

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Tongue resting position

What is the resting position of the tongue?

Where is your tongue all the time when you’re not working?

Mostly, we do not pay attention to where our tongue is located – what position it takes in the mouth when it is not moving while speaking, drinking or eating. This position, called the resting tongue position, is also called the “cobra” position. In the office, we call it the “medusa” position.

Problems arise when the tongue is positioned incorrectly in the resting position. The consequences of this setting may affect many problems that will affect our teeth and even our health.

From an orthodontic point of view, the tongue is the best physiological orthodontic appliance. Its location on the palate ensures, among others, proper development of the jaw, then the jaw takes the shape of the letter U, while if the tongue lies at the bottom (i.e. on the mandible), the jaw may change its shape to the letter V

The position of the tongue also affects the temporomandibular joint (TMJ):

  • the tongue placed on the mandible puts excessive strain on it and hinders proper motor coordination of the tongue-mandibular complex
  • the tongue positioned on the mandible may encourage the head and neck to move forward, which causes the retraction of the mandible and increases compression in the ssj
  • the tongue placed on the jaw may force an inappropriate way of breathing – through the mouth,
  • The tongue placed on the lower jaw presses on the front teeth, which may cause them to tilt.

Numerous studies have shown that the lack of a correct resting position of the tongue causes disturbances in the development of the facial skeleton and, consequently, the lack of good conditions and proper space for the production of speech sounds. The swallowing function (!) and then speech sounds are created on the matrix of the resting position of the tongue. According to prof. D. Pluta-Wojciechowska is a vertical-horizontal movement, according to prof. B. Ostapiuk is the cobra position, and for many it is the verticalization of a broad tongue.

The resting position of the tongue is a wide tongue placed behind the upper incisors, attached to the palate for ¾ of the length of its anterior dorsal surface.

Verticalization of the language is efficiency.

We observe it in the following aspects:

  1. resting position of the tongue,
  1. swallowing,
  1. breathing
  1. articulation (pronunciation).

Speech is the icing on the cake. Correct pronunciation requires specific, precise micro-movements of our speech organs. Any dysfunction of these organs affects the proper production of speech sounds. For example: by disturbing the resting function of the tongue, it will contribute to pronunciation defects in almost the entire phoneme-phonetic system of the Polish language, because given sounds are produced on the matrix of the position of a wide and raised tongue (according to the phoneme-phonetic system of B. Rocławski).

The resting function of the tongue is usually disturbed by a short tongue frenulum (ankyloglossia), abnormal respiratory function, tone disorders, and neurogenic diseases.

Anatomical disorders of the facial skeleton contribute to the development of anatomical dyslalia (speech sound disorders due to anatomical defects of the speech organs; after: D. Emiluta-Rozya; ), and disorders of biological/physiological functions, such as breathing, food intake and processing, swallowing, will result in the development of functional dyslalia (speech sound disorders due to physiological function disorders).

Due to the fact that structure determines function (usually), both types of dyslalia can occur simultaneously.

Tongue resting position – what is it?

How to look for it?

How to diagnose it?

Where is this language parking lot?

By opening your eyes wide open everything can be found.

When we combine many different factors, we can see much more, and together with a speech therapist and a physiotherapist, we see not only the symptoms but the cause of the disease (problem) for which the patient seeks our help.

Together we can do more – cooperation

Orthodontist – speech therapist – physiotherapist

Med. stom. Aleksandra Gabren Syller

Maciej Iwanowski, MSc in physiotherapy