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Identifying the Link: How Tongue-Tie, Constipation, & Reflux are Connected

February 29, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — sproutdentistryforkids @ 8:00 pm
father holding a baby

Is your baby experiencing constipation and acid reflux? While it’s not uncommon, it’s certainly not something you want to dismiss, especially if it continues for a prolonged period. The mouth and body are closely connected; in fact, it should come as no surprise that many of the gastrointestinal issues babies experience often start in the mouth. As you struggle to identify the reason for your infant’s discomfort, read on to learn why it might be a tongue-tie that is to blame.

Your Baby’s GI Tract: How Is It Linked to Their Tongue-Tie?

If you’ve looked inside your baby’s mouth recently, you may have noticed a tongue-tie. This restricted band of tissue is known to cause difficulties with breastfeeding, bottle-feeding, and even speech impediments as a child gets older.

However, when your child is dealing with constipation and reflux, you may wonder if their tongue-tie is part of the problem.


Infant Gastroesophageal Reflux (GER) develops mainly as a result of “swallowing air.” Many infants experience reflux while feeding; however, it can be made worse if a tongue-tie is involved.

According to a study performed by Dr. Bobby Ghaheri in 2017, 2018, and 2022, infants who underwent a tongue-tie release experienced a significant decline in instances of reflux. Tongue-ties prevent a tight seal around the breast or bottle, causing clicking noises and more air being swallowed. However, once the banded tissue is released, it allows for improved feeding.


When thinking about how reflux and constipation are both impacted by tongue-tie, it’s a bit difficult to grasp because they’re both problems but at opposite ends of the gastrointestinal tract.

Dr. Richard Baxter at the Alabama Tongue-Tie Center reports, though, that after discovering many of his patients had less of a problem with constipation after undergoing tongue-tie release, he began to do research into why.

What he found made perfect sense. When a restricted frenulum (tongue-tie) causes difficulty eating, food is not chewed properly and thus enters into the stomach and intestines not fully digested. As a result, constipation occurs.

He also remarked that the inability to chew and push food through the mouth with the tongue limits a person’s swallowing capabilities, which also impacts the GI tract.

How a Pediatric Dentist Can Help

Turning to your child’s pediatric dentist can be one of the most impactful and effective ways to improve feeding, reduce reflux, and minimize constipation.

By inquiring about a frenectomy, this surgical procedure can be completed quickly and easily in-house. Using a dental laser, the frenulum is released, allowing for a full range of motion in seconds. This not only helps make breast- and bottle-feeding more manageable but also allows for more effective swallowing and breathing in the future as children grow older.

When problems develop inside the body, do not discount the mouth as the potential starting point. As the gateway to the body, having your child’s pediatric dentist perform a thorough examination can help to reduce these kinds of issues and allow for healthier, happier infants, children, and teenagers.

About the Authors
At Sprout Dentistry for Kids, Dr. Justin Chan and Dr. Sage Yoo are board-certified pediatric dentists and fathers. Offer frenectomies to treat lip- and tongue-ties, they make the process easy and pain-free for patients. If issues are forming throughout a child’s body, it may be that a tongue-tie is the culprit, but parents need not worry, as our team will ensure safe and comfortable care that leads to healthier, more functional lives. Visit our website or call (469) 301-3212 to find out how we can help if you suspect your child has a tongue-tie.

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