Tongue-tie (ankyloglossia,) occurs when the frenulum, or piece of tissue which bridges the gap between the underside of the tongue and the floor of the mouth is abnormally short, stopping the tip of the tongue from protruding beyond the lower gum. It varies in degree, from a mild form in which the tongue is bound only by a thin mucous membrane to a severe form in which the tongue is completely fused to the floor of the mouth. Breastfeeding difficulties may arise as a result of the inability to move the tongue in a normal way and therefore attach and suck effectively, causing sore nipples and poor infant weight gain.
Many tongue-ties are asymptomatic and do not require treatment and some may resolve spontaneously over time. In some instances, support to improve attachment is all that is needed. However, if the condition is causing problems with feeding, surgical division of the lingual frenulum can be recommended and carried out as early as possible. This may enable the mother to continue breastfeeding rather than having to switch to artificial feeding.
NICE has approved the division of tongue tie.