If you’ve never heard of ankyloglossia, you are not alone. It’s better known as an affliction causing someone to be "tongue-tied."

The New Jersey Legislature has passed a bill to require mandatory screening for ankyloglossia or "anchored tongue" in infants. The measure awaits Gov. Chris Christie’s signature to become law.

“Early diagnosis is a parent’s best defense in treating health conditions quickly and successfully,” said Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell (D-Bayonne), a co-sponsor of the bill. “Tongue-tie testing is a critical screening we must require due to its potential effect on a child’s speech and eating ability. Mandating testing is an important step in providing the best care for newborns. Simply, newborn screenings save lives.”

Medical experts point out that being tongue-tied can cause a variety of problems. If left untreated, the structure and appearance of the face and teeth can be impacted, as well as oral function. Breastfeeding, eating, digestion, teeth, speech, kissing and social skills can be negatively affected. Some consequences can be experienced early, but others only become evident in later life.

“Screening tests are essential to ensuring a healthy baby,” bill co-sponsor Assemblyman Craig Coughlin (D-Woodbridge) said. “Tongue-tie is more common than we think and often overlooked. This legislation would make an important addition to newborn screening requirements and enable parents to properly care for their babies if the condition is found.”

If enacted, New Jersey would be the first state to require tongue-tie screenings for newborns.