Tongue Stabilizing Devices: What They Are And How They Work

Last updated: August 25th, 2023


What Is A Tongue Stabilizing Device?

A tongue stabilizing device (TSD) is a type of snoring mouthpiece, often made of flexible plastic or silicone resin, that is used to treat snoring and sleep apnea by holding your tongue forward.

A TSD can work for almost anyone because it does not rest on the teeth and does not require custom fitting.

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What Other Names Does A Tongue Stabilizing Device Have?

Tongue stabilizing devices are also called tongue-retaining devices (TRDs). They are a type of snoring mouthpiece.

Types of Tongue Stabilizing Devices

  • TSDs that work through a suction bulb, pulling the tongue forward
  • TSDs that work by putting an elastic band over the tongue to keep it from falling back over the airway

Sizes of Tongue Stabilizing Devices

Tongue stabilizing devices (TSDs) are available in pre-made sizes, eliminating the need for impressions of the teeth. Typically, they are offered in small, medium, and large sizes.

How Does A Tongue Stabilizing Device Work?

A TSD works by opening up the blocked airway through gently pulling the tongue forward. Generally, a TSD attaches to the tongue through suction and then braces itself using the lips, gums or teeth.

Each TSD is different but all work through keeping the tongue forward. TSDs extend your tongue past your teeth and address the tongue as the cause of snoring.

Beforing using a TSD, you should rinse your mouth with water to moisten it. You do not have to push your tongue completely into the tip of the device. You should be able to swallow comfortably with a TSD.

Some TSDs work using an elastic band while others work by being pinched and placed inside a hole that creates a vacuum. This vacuum is what pulls the tongue forward.

A TSD does not require fitting by a specialist.

What Problems Does a Tongue Stabilizing Device Address?

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a major public health problem with long-term health consequences such as hypertension, metabolic dysfunction and cardiovascular disease.

Sleep dentists and physicians often have patients being treated for mild OSA that can not use Mandibular Advancement Devices because of periodontal disease, CPAP failure or TMJ disorders.

How Long Does It Take To Get Used To A Tongue Stabilizing Device?

A TSD may be uncomfortable at first. For this reason, it can take days to get used to. It may even take several weeks or even months to be worn comfortably.

What Are Some Problems With Tongue Devices?

One problem that you may experience while wearing a TSD is that you cannot sleep as easily on your side.

A TSD is worn mostly outside of your mouth and this may interfere with your sleeping position.

Tongue Stabilizing Device vs. Mandibular Advancement Device

For a detailed review comparing TSDs to MADs, see this article comparing them.

How Do I Keep My Tongue From Making Me Snore?

Keeping your tongue from causing snoring can be achieved through various methods and devices.

One effective approach is using a tongue stabilizing device (TSD).

A TSD is a soft, flexible device that holds the tongue in a forward position during sleep, preventing it from falling back and obstructing the airway. This helps maintain an open air passage, reducing snoring vibrations and promoting smoother breathing.

Additionally, practicing tongue exercises and oral exercises can help strengthen the tongue and throat muscles, which can contribute to better tongue positioning during sleep.

Adopting side sleeping positions can also help prevent the tongue from obstructing the airway and reduce snoring.

Making lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding alcohol before bedtime, and quitting smoking can further improve snoring issues related to tongue positioning.

What is a Snore Tongue Holder?

A snore tongue holder, also known as a tongue stabilizing device (TSD), is a type of anti-snoring device designed to address snoring caused by the tongue falling back and obstructing the airway during sleep. The device consists of a soft, flexible, and often medical-grade silicone or plastic material that holds the tongue in a forward position to prevent it from blocking the air passage.

Tongue stabilizing devices work by creating additional space in the throat, which helps to maintain an open airway and reduce snoring vibrations. Users place the device on their tongue, and the gentle suction or negative pressure holds the tongue in place throughout the night.

Unlike mandibular advancement devices (MADs), which reposition the lower jaw to open the airway, tongue stabilizing devices primarily focus on addressing snoring related to the tongue's position. These devices can be an effective solution for individuals whose snoring is primarily caused by tongue-based airway obstruction.

Before using a snore tongue holder or any other anti-snoring device, it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the underlying cause of your snoring and ensure that the device is suitable for your specific needs.

Do Tongue Retainers Work for Snoring?

Tongue retainers, also known as tongue stabilizing devices (TSDs), have been found to be effective in addressing snoring caused by tongue-based airway obstruction.

These devices work by holding the tongue in a forward position during sleep, preventing it from falling back and obstructing the airway.

By creating additional space in the throat, tongue retainers help maintain an open airway, reducing snoring vibrations and promoting smoother breathing. Many users have reported positive outcomes with tongue retainers, experiencing a significant reduction in snoring and improved sleep quality.

However, as with any anti-snoring device, individual experiences may vary, and it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the most suitable solution for specific snoring concerns.

Who Should Use a Tongue Stabilizing Device?

A TSD is a choice for people that want to treat snoring and sleep apnea that are able to stick their tongue out past their teeth to secure the device in place.

Those who are good candidates for TSDs include people:

  • Without teeth
  • With dentures (upper and/ or lower)
  • Who have tooth complications
  • Who have periodontal problems
  • Who have a larger than normal tongue
  • Who have Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ/ TMD)
  • Who recent had dental implants

Who Should Not Use A Tongue Stabilizing Device?

  • Children (unless fit correctly)
  • People with central sleep apnea
  • People who have large tonsils
  • Those who have a tongue so large that it cannot be moved out of the way
  • People who cannot breathe through their nose at night

What Are The Side Effects Of Tongue Stabilizing Devices?

While tongue stabilizing devices (TSDs) can be effective in reducing snoring, they may also have some side effects or discomforts for certain individuals.

Some potential side effects of using a tongue stabilizing device include:

  • Excessive Salivation: Some users may experience increased saliva production while using a TSD, especially during the initial adjustment period.
  • Tongue Discomfort: Wearing a TSD may cause mild tongue soreness or discomfort, particularly in the first few nights of use.
  • Gag Reflex: For some individuals, the presence of a TSD in the mouth can trigger the gag reflex, making it uncomfortable to wear.
  • Dry Mouth: Some users may experience dry mouth, especially if they breathe through their mouth during sleep.
  • Difficulty in Use: Getting used to wearing a tongue stabilizing device can take time, and some individuals may find it challenging to keep the device in place throughout the night.
  • Jaw Pain: In some cases, users may experience jaw discomfort or pain due to the tongue's forward positioning while wearing the device.

It's essential to understand that individual experiences with tongue stabilizing devices can vary. Some users may not experience any side effects, while others may find certain discomforts initially, which may improve with consistent use and proper adjustment.

How Do You Take Care of a Tongue Stabilization Device?

  • Clean it everyday with hot water to prevent infection and odor
    • Use denture cleaning solution on a weekly or monthly basis
    • Do not use mouthwash (the alcohol can damage the device)
  • Store in a cool and dry place such as the container it comes in

What Is The History Of Tongue Stabilization Devices?

The TSD was developed by Christopher J. Robertson in the United States at Great Lakes Orthodontics, Ltd in Tonawanda, New York.

Can a Tongue Stabilization Device Be Used With Dentures?

Yes, you can use a TSD if you have dentures because it does not attach to your teeth.

How Much Does a Tongue Stabilization Device Cost?

It can cost anywhere from $40 to $500 get a TSD, most of which are under $100.

How Long Does a Tongue Stabilization Device Last?

If used continuously, a TSD should last 6 months to 2 years.

What If Snoring Continues After Trying A Tongue Stabilization Device?

If you continue to experience snoring problems after trying a TSD, make sure it is fit correctly and not damaged or worn out. You can consider using a Mandibular Advancement Device if you have health teeth.


In conclusion, a tongue stabilizing device (TSD) or snore tongue holder is an effective anti-snoring solution that can be beneficial for individuals with tongue-based airway obstruction.

TSDs work by gently pulling the tongue forward during sleep, helping to maintain an open airway and reduce snoring vibrations. These devices are available in various types, including those with suction bulbs and elastic bands.

While using a TSD, it is essential to rinse the mouth with water before wearing it and allow time for adjustment as it may initially cause discomfort. TSDs are suitable for individuals without teeth, those with dentures or dental complications, and individuals with larger tongues or TMJ disorders. However, children and individuals with central sleep apnea, large tonsils, or difficulty breathing through the nose at night should avoid using TSDs.

While TSDs can be effective for many, individual experiences may vary, and some side effects such as excessive salivation or tongue discomfort may occur.

Proper care and regular cleaning of the device are necessary to maintain hygiene and durability. If snoring continues despite using a TSD, it's essential to ensure proper fit and condition of the device and consider alternative solutions such as a mandibular advancement device (MAD) if suitable.

With careful consideration and consultation with a healthcare professional, individuals can find the most effective anti-snoring solution tailored to their specific needs and enjoy improved sleep quality.

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