#7 Fat or Sagging Tongue
The tongue performs many roles in the body, facilitating speech, eating, taste, and the development of the teeth and jaws. However, the tongue can also interfere with breathing. The tongue can develop fat deposits like any other part of the body, and if it does, it can narrow your airway. The tongue can also narrow the airway as it sags during sleep.
In fact, the tongue is the first anatomical structure we’ve discussed that has the potential to completely close your airway, leading to obstructive sleep apnea.
Losing weight can reduce fat deposits on the tongue, and exercise can help tone the tongue. However, oral appliance therapy is often the best way to address tongue problems. Mandibular advancement devices (MAD) move the jaw forward to pull the tongue out of the way of the airway, and tongue retaining devices (TRD) can also help keep the airway clear. Less frequently, surgery can reduce the size of the tongue.