Retained Rooting Reflex

The rooting reflex is important in helping an infant locate food and breastfeeding. This is the reaction an infant has when you brush your finger down one side of the mouth and the child turns its head toward the stroke while opening their mouth.

It should be integrated by 4 months. If not, it can contribute to problems in speech, writing, eating disorders, and thyroid problems.


Test for Rooting Reflex

Stroke down around one side of the child’s mouth from nose to chin. Do this three times, moving a little further out each time. Repeat on the other side of the mouth.

Look for their mouth or hands to twitch on either side.

If it does, the reflex is most likely still present


  • Tongue lies too far forward
  • Hypersensitive around mouth
  • Difficulty with textures and solid foods
  • Thumb sucking
  • Speech and articulation problems
  • Difficulty swallowing and chewing
  • Dribbling
  • Hormone imbalance
  • Thyroid problems and autoimmune tendency
  • Dexterity problems when talking
  • Even if they don’t display any of these symptoms, it is a good idea to do the quick test on them, as there may be other functions that are affected by it that are still unknown.