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Tongue Ties, bedwetting and constipation, Oh my!

Updated: Jan 31

Did you know that having tongue ties or limited oral motor control (tightness or weakness of the muscles in the mouth and throat) can be related to childhood constipation and bedwetting?? There are a few theories on why this might be:

1. Oral tightness can make it difficult to move solid or hard foods around in the mouth, so individuals with tightness may prefer a softer diet. A softer diet usually means less fiber and less whole foods (fruits and veggies) which can lead to constipation. Constipation is a leading cause of bed wetting.

2. Weakness in the mouth muscles can make chewing difficult, incomplete, or exhausting limiting the first phase of digestion (breaking down food into smaller pieces and adding saliva). Could weak mouth muscles mean a weak swallow and weaker contractions to move food through the entire digestive system? Weak peristalsis can lead to slow motility and constipation. And constipation is a leading cause of bed wetting.

3. Tightness in oral motor tissues can be correlated with tension/tightness along the vagus nerve which manages a lot of the sympathetic nervous system. If the vagus nerve is activated or tethered it can leave the body in “fight or flight” and unable to “rest and digest” well which can lead to constipation. And constipation is a leading cause of bedwetting.

So… if you or your child is struggling with bedwetting or constipation – consider talking with your pediatrician, dentist, speech or physical therapist about oral motor function, neck and mouth function, and eating or digestion issues. They may uncover a hidden connection!

Constipated child straining on toilet
Toilet Straining?

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