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Tongue tie and sleep apnea?


I’ve been using a cpap for 8+ years now. My father uses one too. Neither of us is overweight, so there is some other cause. I know it runs in families.

I also grind my teeth.

I have a new dentist. When he first looked in my mouth, the first thing he mentioned is that I’m tongue-tied. It’s a posterior tongue tie, meaning the frenulum (a piece of flesh under the tongue) is pulling my tongue backward, and when I’m sleeping may be the source of the OSA. In response to that, he says, it grind my teeth in order to open the airway.

Dr. Google does not have much info out there about this. In fact, most of what I find has to do with severe tongue ties in babies that affect their ability to nurse properly. My tongue tie is posterior, meaning it’s attached further back on the tongue, so is not really visible unless I open my mouth widely.

Has anyone else ever heard of this? I’m considering a frenectomy to see if things improve.

Everything has a cause, and no one has ever offered a cause for why people with low body fat get OSA, other than “it’s genetic.” If tongue ties are genetic, and it’s fixable, makes sense to fix it, right?

But why do surgery if it’s a red herring.

Any thoughts?


This is new to me as a sleep tech and educator, but it makes sense, the way you describe it. Here’s what I think could be a useful post for you and other members to learn more about this challenge. It seems to be a common concern among children, and if it’s ignored, can lead to sleep apnea in adults. Today’s kids are more likely to see braces by the time they are in high school, but I do know the trend toward braces was not so predominant when I was that age (back in the 70s-80s). So anyone who is older than, say, 40 might be facing this very situation now. Thanks for bringing up the topic, @tntjr !


Thanks for posting. I’ve found a number of sites out there. As you suggest, most are about babies. But babies grow up! I have a frenectomy scheduled later this week. I will report back here when I have an idea about whether it helps or not.


Thanks @tntjr It is always interesting hearing [in our case, reading :slight_smile: ] about something we have not seen before.


Update. Had the frenectomy 3 weeks ago. I do feel a lot less jaw tension, so may be grinding my teeth less. Still use my bite guard though. I use an APAP, so I can see what the pressure is for a given night and there has been no change so far. It may take months for the muscles in my mouth and throat to adjust. Will update if the OSA improves.


Thank you for your posting, @tntjr - Tim. I am very curious about your updating us with your OSA since the procedure. What more can you share about what led you to having the tissue clipped?


Hi Tntjr,
I am curious to know about effects of your tongue tie correction procedure on sleep apnea.
I am an adult with sleep apnea and tongue tie, and trying to decide if I should get tongue tie operated.