Ankyloglossia also known as tongue tie is not a condition you hear about every day, but certainly one of great impact, especially for the 4% of newborns affected by it.
For those not familiar with tongue tie, it is a condition where the tip of the tongue is connected to the floor of the mouth by a thick band of tissue, restricting movement of the tongue.
This can result in a host of problems from eating to speaking and many actions in between that require a full range of motion of the tongue.
Generally boys are more susceptible to tongue tie as it is a semi-dominant x-linked inheritable trait as well as those with some degree of orofacial clefts.
Research has revealed that those with MTHFR 1298cc have a 7-fold increased risk of cleft palate and those with 677tt have an increased risk of cleft palate, likely of the same magnitude or worse.
Is Tongue Tie preventable?
Genetics can be implicated in an estimated 20%-50% of cleft palate cases, but more importantly the remainder is associated with environmental factors. 
Genes, though an easy target, do not hold all the cards. The down regulating puppeteer is SUMO-1 modification which has been implicated in the control of gene TBx22, responsible for oral facial cleft palate expression.
Sumolyation is important in regulating the transcription of genes, nuclear integrity, chromosome segregation, and embryonic viability. With such a heavy job description, sumolyation needs support to ensure a healthy pregnancy.
MTHFR, Methylation & Tongue Tie
So how can SUMO-1 be modified in a positive way? Since lifestyle, environmental factors and viruses affect SUMO-1 modification, it should come as no surprise that reducing risk factors will also decrease the likelihood of tongue tie.
All roads to health (including tongue tie) come by healthy genetic expression, hence the need for sumolyation and methylation.
Risk factors -
- Chemotherapeutic drugs
- Lack of nutritional supplements
- Viral Infections – adenoviruses, herpesviruses, papillomaviruses
- Conditions of Hypoxia
Why is methylation necessary to immunity?
As mentioned above, one of the factors affecting SUMO-1 modification are viruses. What supports immunity? Methylation! DNA methylation is what shuts down the genetic expression of viruses. One of the body’s main methlators is DNMT1, necessary not only for general health, but also virus inhibition.
It follows then that those who have MTHFR have an increased risk of tongue tie.
However, whether you have the MTHFR polymorphism or not, the environment with which most people live in is not conducive to methylation and therefore requires support.
Helpful measures to support methylation:
- Limit or reduce dietary catechol-containing polyphenols such as coffee, tea, potatoes, and sweet potatoes especially in the first trimester of pregnancy as they inhibit DNMT1.
- Supplement with folate (in the form of folinic acid or methylfolate) before conception and early pregnancy, whether you have MTHFR or not, folate is an integral nutrient for a healthy pregnancy.
- Adequate levels of vitamin A seem to support development of the primary palate.
Do you or someone you know have Tongue Tie?