Who is Babies Tongues?, What happens to babies sticking out their tongues?

Dentists and midwives in the United States have seen a rise in the practice of performing “tongue tie surgery” to aid breastfeeding. This procedure, using a laser to remove excess tissue under the tongue or connecting the lips and cheeks, was initially intended for cases where babies had a legitimate defect hindering proper feeding. Over the past two decades, it has gained popularity, with some claiming it can prevent issues like sleep apnea and speech impediments. Critics argue that the trend is alarming, leaving some infants unable to eat for extended periods, resulting in malnourishment. The surge in surgeries has raised concerns, with some doctors cautioning that the procedure might pose risks, including airway obstruction in infants. The number of surgeries increased by 800% between 1997 and 2012, and Google searches for “tongue tie” hit a record high in June, reflecting the growing interest in this practice. The trend appears to have started after a 2004 article suggested a broader range of infants might benefit from the surgery.

Dentists and midwives across the United States are increasingly performing “tongue tie surgery,” a procedure involving the use of lasers to remove excess tissue under a baby’s tongue or the webbing connecting lips and cheeks. Originally intended for cases where babies had a legitimate defect hindering proper feeding, the surgery has gained popularity in the last two decades, with some claiming it can prevent future issues like sleep apnea and speech impediments. However, critics argue that it has become a concerning trend, leaving some infants unable to eat for extended periods, leading to malnutrition.

The surgery has faced backlash, with reports of babies experiencing difficulties in sucking or swallowing, and in severe cases, requiring feeding tubes. Some medical professionals warn that the procedure might even pose risks, such as blocking an infant’s airway with newly freed, floppy tongues. Google searches for “tongue tie” have spiked, doubling over the past five years.

The surge in these surgeries began around 2004 when an article in the American Academy of Pediatrics’ newsletter suggested a broader application of the procedure, extending beyond the 4% to 11% of babies born with a genuinely short, thick, or tight band of tissue tethering the tongue to the mouth’s floor. Critics argue that the trend raises concerns, labeling it as a potential “money grab,” emphasizing the need for caution and thorough evaluation before resorting to tongue tie surgery.

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