How Teeth Affect Speech

It can be difficult to understand just how important our teeth are. We all know that they are useful for smiling and eating. We know that beautiful teeth make pretty smiles. But, are teeth important for speaking? Do teeth really play a role in allowing your child to learn to articulate sounds and words properly? Will a child’s open bite, tongue-tie, or teeth affect their speech and ability to make certain sounds?

The answer is yes! The entire mouth is essential for speech, and this includes teeth. Any problem with your child’s teeth or oral development can affect their speech. The lips, tongue, and teeth all work together to form words by controlling the airflow out of the mouth. The tongue strikes the teeth or the roof of the mouth as some sounds are being made. While not all sounds rely on the teeth, many do.

Try saying “thank you very much for this” without allowing your upper and lower teeth to touch your lips, tongue or each other?

Was it clear? Or did you sound like a two-year-old trying to learn a new phrase?

Speech can be affected by many issues related to your child’s teeth, oral health, and structural development.

  • Cleft palate
  • Tongue or Lip Ties
  • Prolonged Pacifier Use
  • Thumb or Finger Sucking
  • Misalignment of the jaw, teeth and bite
  • Teeth or Tongue Thrusting

Your child’s Anderson pediatric dentist will screen for these issues at routine dental visits. In fact, for infants and young children, this is the main purpose of their dental visits. When you can identify issues, such as Tongue Tie, Lip Tie and Tongue thrusting early, you can intervene before long-term damage is caused, allowing your child’s teeth to affect speech development in a positive way, rather than interfering in their growth and development.

The image below from shows a phonetic map of the human mouth. Start at the beginning and try to pronounce each word. You will see where each sound in the mouth comes from and which parts of your teeth, tongue and mouth are essential for producing the sounds.

mouth and sounds chart

Your child’s teeth serve a very important role in speech development. We all want our children to be able to communicate with the world. After all, they have a LOT to say. You can your child become a great communicator by taking care of their teeth.

If you have areas of concern, make sure to point these out to your pediatrician and Anderson pediatric dentist. Early dental screenings can help your pediatric dentist identify areas of concern early. Be sure to bring your child in for a dental check-up by their first birthday, and of course, earlier if you have concerns. Keep up with routine cleanings and check-ups so that your pediatric dentist can monitor oral development.

Anderson Pediatric Dentistry strives to be your go-to resource for pediatric oral health and would love to help your child achieve a beautiful smile. Call us today at 864-760-1440 and let us give you and your child Something to Smile About!

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Anderson Pediatric Dentistry

198 Mutual Drive Anderson , SC 29621

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Phone Number (864) 760 - 1440


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7:30 am-4:30 pm


7:30 am-4:30 pm


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