Jaw Thrust Oral Motor Problems

You might have seen the last post put up here on the site where I shared a list of common oral motor problems.  These issues are the underlying areas that cause kids to have trouble with eating and look like food falling from a child’s mouth, trouble moving food within the mouth, difficulty sucking on a straw or many other common feeding issues.  Below you’ll find more information on jaw thrust and how this oral motor problem relates to difficulty in eating and drinking in kids. 

Jaw thrust is a common oral motor problem that interferes with feeding. Here are the underlying causes and how jaw thrust impacts feeding in kids.


Jaw Thrust Oral Motor Problem

Jaw thrust is an abnormal movement pattern of the jaw and occurs when the jaw and mouth opens or moves
suddenly and with force.  Typically, the jaw is able to move up and down, shift, move laterally, rotate, and hold patterns in various graded positions and strengths.  

These movements enable sucking, biting, chewing, and develops to more defined movement patterns.  As a result, we are able to bite with graded motions, hold jaw positioning, move food within the mouth, manage various food textures, and control the tongue, lips, and cheeks.  When jaw thrust is present, the jaw is held in a downward and outward position.  

Read more about development of oral motor skills
A strong
jaw thrust can occur for several reasons:
  • ·
    Increased patterns of muscle tone
  • ·
    Poor sitting posture
  • ·
    Neck hyperextension
  • ·
    Impaired breathing patterns leading to
    compensatory positioning resulting in jaw thrust
  • ·
    Over-stimulating sensory environment
  • ·        Hyper-reaction to input from teeth contacting
    each other during biting and chewing
Feeding issues related to jaw thrust:

Jaw thrust impacts components of eating,
including sucking, biting, swallowing, and chewing food.  

Jaw thrust impacts the movement and use of the tongue, cheeks, and lips as a result of jaw thrust. 

When a child eats, jaw thrust interferes with
the rhythm of eating and drinking. 

Children may present with a strong jaw thrust during meals and the
person who is feeding the child views the jaw thrust as food refusal or being
through with eating. 

Jaw thrust may result in drooling, food droppage or spilling, spilling or leaking of fluids. 


If you are looking for exercises related to common oral motor problems, this FREE printable pack of oral motor exercises goes along perfectly with the series I have planned for you.  Get your free printable packet of 20 different feeding therapy ideas AND 20 oral motor exercises.  These are treatment ideas for oral motor problems that professionals can utilize over and over again.