Our tongues could be considered one of our most important body parts. For many of us, we use them to communicate with each other, sing along to our favorite songs, even (perhaps unbeknownst to us) use them to detect whether food is poisonous or not. They keep us alive and connected. Dentists, for good reason, consider the tongue—which is made up of eight muscles—an amazing part of our bodies. Here are a few reasons why.
Your tongue is covered in taste buds, anywhere from 2,000 to 4,000 as a matter of fact, and so are your cheeks, lips, palate, and the back of your mouth. These taste buds, housed in those little bumps that cover the muscle called papillae, detect flavors that include sweet, sour, savory, salty, and bitter. And just like us, our taste buds change as we age, breaking down over time. That’s why some foods taste too intense for children, but suit adults just fine.
The color and texture of your tongue say a lot about your overall health. Dentists pay close attention to the hue of your tongue to alert them to any health issues you might be experiencing but not necessarily feeling. For example, a red tongue can be an indication of allergies or infection, while white patches could signal a fungal infection. Folic acid, iron, and B12 deficiencies can cause a too-smooth texture. You will find a healthy tongue is pink in color.
While it might seem like some people are born with naturally nimble tongues, you can actually train your tongue to learn how to roll. This skill is often born from genetics and environmental factors, but don’t lose hope: with practice you might be able to capture this skill, too!
Protects Your Overall Wellness
Funny fact: your tongue can get fat. Our tongues are made in large part of fat and when we gain weight, our tongues do, too. While this isn’t necessarily a big issue, a fatter tongue can cause health issues like obstructive sleep apnea.
Your tongue is a key part of overall oral hygiene and keeping it clean will keep your mouth, and by extension you, healthier.