It keeps dogs cool, it cleans your teeth, and it helps you taste and speak. It’s the tongue – and you’d probably be hard pressed to find a more fascinating part of the mouth than the muscly organ that makes enjoying your favorite foods possible.
The human tongue is covered in a slimy pink tissue known as mucosa. Those little bumps on the tongue that you can feel when you touch it with your finger? Those are called papillae, and they are home to another important feature of the tongue: the taste buds.
The human tongue is said to have anywhere between 3,000 and 10,000 taste buds, which can pick up the flavors salty, sweet, bitter, sour and savory. The taste buds only work when activated. And that’s not the only way the tongue helps with eating. It also helps us chew and swallow our food, too!
The tongue is also a bit of a contradiction. It is both the strongest muscle in the entire body and also one of the most delicate. But get this: Though it’s one of the most delicate muscles in the human body, it’s also the fastest-healing organ in the entire body. Think about it. How long does it take to heal your mouth from a pizza burn? Not long, right? Now imagine that same burn anywhere else on your body. It would probably take a lot longer to heal, despite not being as painful or in the way as a tongue burn.
Another cool fact about tongues: Much like fingerprints, tongue prints are unique to each individual person. Men’s tongues tend to be longer than women’s, and get this: Did you know if you gain weight in your body, you can even put on weight in your tongue? It’s true!
The most important thing you should remember about your tongue, though, is that it’s an important part of your mouth and an important component to your oral health. That means you need to take good care of it by staying hydrated, brushing and flossing your teeth, and, yes, even brushing or scraping your tongue with a tongue scraper.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Abelar, please call 858-256-4088.