|The tongue is a muscular organ in the mouth. The tongue is covered with moist tissue called mucosa. It is vital for chewing (manipulating food for mastication) and swallowing food, as well as for speech, more specifically phonetic articulation. The tongue also serves as a natural means of cleaning one's teeth. It is the primary organ of taste (gustation), as most of the upper surface of the tongue is covered in papillae and taste buds. It is sensitive and kept moist by saliva, and is richly supplied with nerves and blood vessels.
The ability to perceive different tastes is not localized in different parts of the tongue, as is widely believed. The tongue/taste map that shows sweet at the tip, bitter on the back of the tongue etc, is an error that arose because of misinterpretation of some 19th century research. In reality, the tongue is composed of many taste buds, and each taste bud is composed of taste cells that can sense different tastes. There are taste cells for: sweet, bitter, salty, sour, and umami.
The color, texture, shape and other features of the tongue can tell you much about the health of the body. Various regions of the tongue can even help determine things about different organs, so it has been used for diagnostic purposes in many cultures. Click here for more information.
- The tongue is the strongest muscle in proportion to its size in the human body.
- Close to fifty percent of the bacteria in the mouth lives on the surface of our tongue.
- 85% of the population can curl their tongue into a tube.
- Thrush (candidiasis), or candida albicans, is a yeast that grows over the surface of the mouth and tongue.
- Macroglossia (big tongue) can be caused by thyroid disease, lymphangiomas, and congenital abnormalities.
- Geographic tongue is when ridges and colored spots migrate over the surface of the tongue, periodically changing its appearance.
- Burning mouth/burning tongue syndrome occurs when the tongue feels burned or scalded, or strange tastes or sensations develop.
- Atrophic glossitis (bald tongue) is when the tongue loses its bumpy texture, becoming smooth.
- Canker sores (aphthous ulcers) are small, painful ulcers that appear periodically on the tongue or mouth.
- Oral leukoplakia are when white patches appear on the tongue that can't be scraped off.
- Hairy tongue is papillae that can grow over the surface of the tongue.
- Herpes stomatitis uncommonly causes cold sores on the tongue. Herpes virus cold sores are usually on the lip.
Suggestions To Strengthen
- A film on your tongue is not caused from lack of brushing the tongue or from lack of hygiene but generally a condition of the digestive system. Clean the digestive system, for if the organs are healthy, the tongue will be clean and healthy.
- In the mean time, tongue brushing (lightly) and an alkaline pH in the mouth will greatly help the health of the tongue.