Atypical deglutition (tongue thrust swallowing) has been thought by some to be an etiological factor related to dental malocclusion, especially changes related to excessive increase in vertical facial growth. The purpose of this study was to investigate this possible relationship between atypical deglutition and vertical facial growth by documenting the lower, middle and upper facial areas of children with atypical deglutition. 55 lateral cephalometric radiographs were analyzed and measured in each of two groups of subjects according to standardized facial plane angles between the (I) palatal plane and mandibular plane, (II) palatal plane and occlusal plane, (III) mandibular plane and occlusal plane, (IV) skull base and Frankfurt plane, and (V) mandibular angle. The experimental group was comprised of 55 subjects with atypical deglutition, while 55 subjects with normal swallowing were used as a control group. The linear/angular measurements were subjected to Mann-Whitney statistical test with a significance level of 5%. Results: The average angle of the variables I, II, III and IV are, respectively: 29, 14, 14 and 9 degrees in both groups. There were no significant differences in the variables studied in the normal and atypical swallowing groups. However, for variable V there were 3 degrees of difference between the groups, which was statistically significant. The results of this study suggest that the problem of atypical swallowing may be of functional origin and not associated with anatomical changes seen in vertical growth patterns.


cephalometry, tongue thrust, swallowing, vertical dimension