Professionals calling for change to ADA’s biased statement on tongue tie

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From Dr Jeff Kestenberg & Dr Marjan Jones

The Australian Dental Association (ADA) is pursuing an unprecedented and unsolicited agenda to discourage dentists from treating tongue ties (ankyloglossia) in infants. Tongue tie treatment in infants can be an important intervention to prevent early cessation of breastfeeding. Early cessation of breastfeeding is linked by research meta-analysis to a variety of health risks including pneumonia, diabetes, obesity, malocclusion, reduced IQ and maternal cancers.

After a series of negative articles in ADA newsletters at state and federal level, the ADA constructed a flawed and biased consensus statement drawing on opponents of tongue tie treatment, and padding out the committee with representatives of peak bodies who most likely had little understanding of the ADA’s true agenda.

The ADA’s approach to a consensus statement is flawed and biased because:

  1. None of the members of the committee have extensive experience in the surgical management of ankyloglossia in general and in neonates specifically.
  2. None of the members of the committee have declared their conflicts of interest.  We believe these could be significant in some cases.
  3. The literature review is grossly incomplete with many significant research articles omitted.  These articles have been re-published widely and are available freely and without a fee.
  4. There was no call for submissions from interested parties with experience in the area of ankyloglossia when the ADA initially decided to formulate a consensus paper.
  5. There was no opportunity for comment on a preliminary draft of the consensus from members of the dental or other professions.
  6. Because a consensus is defined as a general agreement, there are clearly areas of disagreement, and therefore this document is not a consensus at all.

We propose the current consensus statement be retracted and a new statement be released following consideration and application of the above points and the letter of rebuttal.

We are calling on health professionals everywhere who support bringing about better health outcomes due to treatment of oral ties, improving breastfeeding and other health outcomes and have the same goals as us to co-sign our rebuttal.

Read our rebuttal then sign below and leave a comment providing:

Years of experience with ties OR number of patients with ties
Age groups treated
Locality and Country
Professional organisations of which you are a member