Tongue thrust (also called reverse swallow or immature swallow) is the common name of orofacial muscular imbalance, a human behavioral pattern in which the tongue protrudes through the anterior incisors during swallowing, during speech, and while the tongue is at rest. Nearly all infants exhibit a swallowing pattern involving tongue protrusion, but by six months of age most lose this reflex allowing for the ingestion of solid foods.
Since 1958, the term "tongue thrust" has been described and discussed in speech and dental publications by many writers. Many school-age children have tongue thrust. For example, according to recent literature, as many as 67–95 percent of children 5–8 years old exhibit tongue thrust, which may be associated with or contributing to an orthodontic or speech problem. Up to the age of four, there is a possibility that the child will outgrow tongue thrust. However, if the tongue thrust swallowing pattern is retained beyond that age, it may be strengthened.
Some things which can prevent the development of a mature swallow and allow the "tongue thrust" swallowing pattern to continue are airway issues (such as enlarged tonsils and/or adenoids, chronic nasal allergies, prolonged bottle or sippy cup use, incorrect use of a straw cup, a tongue tie and thumb/pacifier habits. OMT will help you systematically modify your swallowing pattern.