Do you brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day? Do you include your tongue during these rituals? Most people think first of their teeth and gums when contemplating their oral health, but your tongue is also a vital part of your mouth’s health and function. It helps you enunciate your words clearly, and move food to the back of your mouth for swallowing. Then again, not everything pertaining to the human tongue is of vital importance, even if they are interesting. Your Sheridan general dentist, Dr. Coon, explores some of amusing, but lesser-known, facts about the human tongue.
What You Don’t Need to Know About the Human Tongue
- Your tongue is often hailed as the strongest muscle in your body. Technically, however, it’s a group of muscles, which work without the assistance of bones (a unique structure called a “muscular hydrostat”). An elephant’s trunk and an octopus’ tentacles are other examples of muscular hydrostats.
- Made mostly of water, your tongue has a constant volume; when it expands in one place, it must contract somewhere else to compensate. This characteristic makes hydrostats like your tongue exceptionally strong and flexible.
- Some people have endeavored to test the relative strength of their tongue. Among the most notable of these adventurers is Thomas Blackstone, who holds the record for lifting a 24lb, 3oz weight hooked through his tongue.
- Weight isn’t the only thing your tongue can pick up. The 8,000 taste buds on your tongue’s surface can detect five major tastes; sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami. The fifth was identified by Japanese researchers in 1908, and is produced by the chemical monosodium glutamate.
- Ever hear the saying, “Cat got your tongue?” The phrase originated over two millennia ago in ancient Assyria, where the tongues of captured soldiers and condemned criminals were fed to the king’s cats. Luckily, the turn of phrase is no longer so serious.
- At any given moment, there are over 600 different kinds of bacteria in your mouth. Many are harmless, but the malicious ones are responsible for tooth decay, gum disease, and even chronic bad breath, among many other issues. A large portion of these germs (especially the bad breath causing ones) reside on your tongue. Be sure to clean yours with your toothbrush or a tongue scraper during your daily oral hygiene routines.
Total Oral Health Care with Your Sheridan General Dentist
To learn more about the components of your oral health, schedule a consultation with your Sheridan general dentist by contacting Grinnell Street Dental at (307) 672-7567. Located in the 82801 are, we welcome patients from Sheridan, WY and all surrounding communities.