Improving Tongue Posture: The Overlooked Key to Better Health

Your posture here MATTERS

Everyone talks about having good posture. But have you considered the posture of your tongue?

Yes, you read that right. Improving tongue posture can be a game-changer for your health. Ranging from improved sleep quality to less pain.

Let’s dive into the science and practical steps for achieving ideal tongue posture.

The Importance of Proper Tongue Posture

Proper tongue posture involves:

  1. Tongue completely against the roof of the mouth
  2. Lips comfortably closed
  3. Teeth either slightly apart or gently touching

This position helps improve nasal breathing by pulling down on the nasal floor. This makes the nasal passage larger.

The benefits here are INSANE. There’s research supporting good tongue posture:

Decided meh, I’ll just mouth breathe? Then here’s what you can add to your list. How about:

  • Lower Nitric oxide lung concentrations
  • Increased anxiety symptoms (source)
  • Abnormal facial/dental development (source)
  • Cardiovascular disease (source)
  • Halitosis/bad breath
  • Headaches
  • Hypertension
  • Sleep apnea (source)
  • Tooth decay
  • Increased risk of respiratory infections
  • Reduce brain oxygenation, which can impact certain cognitive functions (source)

To me, the choice is clear. Nasal breathing, which happens with good tongue posture, is generally the way to go.

But is it as simple as forcing your tongue up to the roof of your mouth at all times?

How to Achieve Ideal Tongue Posture

There are 3 keys to getting the posture:

  1. Getting enough motion
  2. Creating tongue shapes
  3. Practicing the posture

Let’s dive into each.

Tongue mobility

Getting your tongue up to the roof is all well and good, but what if you lack the motion?

Anywhere from 1-10% of the population is tongue-tied (source). If you lack the mobility, then getting the tongue up to the roof will be TOUGH.

on the left, you can see how my motion was restricted before my tongue tie surgery

Here’s how to assess your tongue posture:

  1. Measure your maximal mouth opening (goal: 2 knuckles between the teeth
  2. Measure opening with the tongue tip on the rough part behind your teeth, called the rugae
  3. Measure opening with the entire tongue on the roof (suction)

The goal is to have as little drop off between the positions as possible.

Many people progressively lose motion with each different posture. If that’s you, you need to get your tongue mobility on fleek yo!

Here’s how.

  1. Palate Brush: Slide your tongue back and forth along the roof of your mouth. Do two sets of 20 reps a couple of times per day.

2. Cheek Punches: Bite down on one to two knuckles and push your tongue into one cheek, hold for five seconds, and then switch sides. Do 10 reps for each side twice per day.

3. Tongue Openers: Get your tongue up to the roof of your mouth and open and close your mouth without tensing your face. Do 10 to 20 reps two to three times per day.

Tongue Shapes

Having the motion is one thing. You also have to have tongue muscle control to be able to keep the tongue up against the roof.

Here are the shapes I coach for that

Here’s how you do it:

Taco Tongue

  1. Stick out your tongue.
  2. Try to fold the sides upwards, forming a taco shape.
  3. If it’s tough, place a chopstick on the middle of your tongue. Fold the sides over it.
  4. Aim for 3 sets of 30 seconds.

Skinny Tongue

This move is perfect if you have ridges on the sides of your tongue, called scalloping. This helps you fit the tongue between your teeth.

  1. Stick out your tongue and press it against a chopstick.
  2. Squeeze the edges inward to make it as narrow as possible.
  3. Work on this for 3-5 minutes, resting as needed

Fat tongue

This helps get the back of the tongue up to the roof.

  1. Start with the tongue pointed out.
  2. Make the tongue bigger up and down.
  3. Work on this for 3-5 minutes, resting as needed

Practicing the posture

You’ve got the mobility and coordination. Now it’s time to build your endurance. Holding this posture throughout the day.

Now don’t expect to hold this all…the…time. Talking, eating, and beast-mode workouts are legit exceptions. But when you are chilling, breathe through that nose and keep that tongue up!

Here’s how you can get the posture:

  1. Begin with the tip of your tongue on the rugae.
  2. Seal your lips and part your teeth just a smidge.
  3. Elevate the whole tongue to the roof of your mouth. It’s like creating a vacuum seal without the face strain.

Hold this throughout the day as much as you can.

Sum up

These tongue exercises are more than just quirky faces in the mirror. It’s about building a foundation for better health from the mouth up.

By managing your tongue posture, you’ll improve your oral health and overall well-being. Here’s the ticket to sleeping better.

To recap:

  • Tongue to the roof of the mouth has TONS of health benefits
  • Get enough tongue mobility first
  • Work on tongue shapes
  • Then practice the posture

Is your face working overdrive on these moves? If so, I’d check out this post to help your face relax.