Here is a list of five fascinating facts about your tongue
The tongue plays a crucial role in swallowing, digesting, and speaking. The tongue helps us identify taste and perceive different flavors. Most people ignore the tongue when it comes to their oral hygiene routine. It is important to take care of your tongue and clean it regularly. Let us look at five interesting facts about the human tongues below:
The Tongue Enables Taste Perception
- The tongue is crucial for taste perception. It has small bumps that are known as papillae. Taste buds cover each papilla. Each taste bud has 50-100 gustatory receptor cells. When these cells come in contact with food, they send signals to the brain about taste and texture.
The receptor cells enable taste perception for sweet, salty, sour, savory, and bitter flavors. This perception is important to keep us safe from harmful substances. They also play an essential role in our diet choices.
- In addition to the receptor cells, saliva plays a vital role in taste perception. Saliva is the watery substance in our mouth, secreted by salivary glands under our tongue. Saliva carries chemicals to taste receptors on our tongue. It lubricates food, making it easier to swallow.
The saliva also contains digestive enzymes which start breaking down the food in our mouth. The taste receptor cells have a regenerative ability. They are replaced every 1-2 weeks, thus allowing us to have an optimum taste perception experience.
The Tongue Protects Against Bacteria
- At the back of the mouth, near the base of the tongue, lingual tonsils, palatine tonsils, and adenoids are present. Together they help protect the body from infections and bacteria. In addition, they trap the bacteria and germs that enter our mouths through food.
As the day passes, bacteria also accumulate on the tongue. These bacteria have the potential to cause a mouth and gum infection. They are also the leading cause of bad breath in adults. Therefore, it is highly recommended to regularly visit a dental clinic for teeth and tongue cleaning.
The Tongue Has Eight Muscles
- Most people believe that tongue is a single muscle; however, it is composed of eight different muscles. Some of these muscles are intrinsic, while others are extrinsic. The intrinsic muscles control and move the tip of the tongue. The extrinsic muscles are attached to the bone and help alter the tongue’s position.
All these muscles collectively work together and give us the ability to move our tongues in all the ways we want to. These muscles also help in swallowing and speaking properly.
Children Experience Flavors More Intensely
- According to most experts, a typical tongue contains around 10,000 taste buds. These taste buds help us taste food and experience flavors. The number of taste buds hardly changes throughout a person’s life.
Scientists believe that children experience flavors more intensely than adults. This is because children have more taste buds and more taste receptor cells per square inch on their tongues, compared with adults. This increased number of receptors is because children’s tongues are shorter than those of grown adults. This is one reason why sugary foods are more appealing to children than they are to adults.
Cleaning Your Tongue Is An Important Part Of Oral Hygiene
- Most people only clean their teeth and gums as part of their oral hygiene routine. They leave out cleaning their tongues. In reality, cleaning the tongue is an integral part of maintaining perfect oral hygiene. A clean tongue helps prevent bacteria buildup, protects against mouth and gum diseases, and stops bad breath from occurring.
The easiest way to clean the tongue is to gently brush it with a toothbrush. Most toothbrushes have ridges on the back side, which can be used for scraping off food particles from the tongue. Some people even use a tongue scraper which is designed for removing debris from the tongue.
- We, at Icon Dental Center, are a group of dental professionals working for the past several years in Everett and Seattle. Contact us today at 206-225-2882 and let us help you keep your oral hygiene in tip-top condition.