When discussing dental health topics, we often focus on teeth and even the gums – but what about the tongue? Believe it or not, your tongue is actually quite interesting and important.
Here are some fast facts about our tongues:
- The average tongue is 10 centimetres long, from the tip to the back of the throat.
- Tastebuds are not visible to the eye, and the small bumps we see are actually called papillae.
- Though it’s often called the strongest muscle in the body, the tongue is actually made up of 8 different muscles (and, for the record, the strongest muscle in the body belongs to the jaw).
- The human tongue imprint can be as unique as a person’s fingerprint, due to the array of taste buds.
- Every tongue has between 3,000 to 10,000 taste buds, and as we age we lose the amount of working taste buds.
Now that you know a bit more about your tongue, let’s discuss how to care for it.
There’s a good chance that you’re ignoring your tongue when it comes to your dental care, but it’s important to keep them clean: not only for health reasons, but also to help deter bad breath. Food and bacteria can leave a film on the tongue that can usually be removed by regular cleaning. This can be done by gently brushing with your toothbrush each morning and night, or using a tongue scraper which is a small plastic tool that you glide along the length of the tongue to scrape off the film.
Aesthetically, a healthy tongue is normally pink in colour, with visible bumps (the papillae, as we mentioned above). When you notice a strange discoloration, pain, or larger bumps, you should see your dentist if it persists longer than a few days. If the tongue ever suddenly looks smoother than usual, it may mean that you’re missing out on essential nutrients – be sure to load up on those vegetables!
Water is also an important part of keeping your tongue clean and healthy, and drinking water throughout the day can help keep a film from forming on its surface.
As always, regular check-ups with your team at Southeast Dental can ensure that your tongue is healthy, along with the rest of your mouth – book your appointment today via our online form, or by phone at 905-471-2002.