What’s with the tongue? I mean, the teeth get all the credit as the gleaming showstoppers, but did you know that the tongue does a lot of the work alongside the pearly whites? Think of all that happens with your mouth that also involves your tongue: chewing, speaking, breathing, drinking, swallowing, singing, tasting, licking…
The amazing tongue consists of 8 super flexible muscles plus hundreds of tiny nodes that contain taste buds and crucial saliva glands. Shockingly, every single node has 50-150 receptor cells PER taste bud. Oh, and by the way, your tongue has 2,000-4,000 taste buds. No wonder you can enjoy the deliciousness of a juicy burger or a freshly baked chocolate cake SO well.
The tongue is adaptable, depending on its particular function. When eating, it is strong and helps to mold and guide food as well as perceive taste and texture. When speaking, the muscle relaxes and shapes the mouth to create speech. The ear and the tongue work in tandem to hear sounds and fine tune the speaking. In a similar way, the tongue and the teeth work together to break down food and operate as one system.
It’s no wonder a dentist checks the health of your tongue at an office visit, because it’s a great gauge of overall oral health. A dentist wants to know that the tongue and teeth are working optimally, to ensure your speech, eating, and daily needs are met by way of the glorious mouth!