A Little Tongue Knowledge Part 1

You use your mouth to eat at least three times a day, you brush, you clean, you floss… but what do you really know about your tongue? Here are a few fun facts for you to learn!

  1. Your tongue is made up of 8 muscles. Although your tongue is shaped like one large muscle, it’s actually a bundle of 8 muscles covered by a mucous membrane that work together. This is why your tongue is so flexible and able to twist.
  1. Your tongue has 5,000-10,000 taste buds. Have you ever taken a really close look at your tongue in the mirror? Those little dots you see all over your tongue are called papillae and a single papilla can have thousands of taste buds inside. Your taste buds are also not just on your tongue, but are on your inner cheeks, the back of your throat and on other parts of your mouth.
  1. Your taste buds are replaced every 2 weeks. Taste buds replenish themselves every 2 weeks or so which explains why when you don’t eat sugar or something spicy for a while, you’re extra sensitive to it after a few weeks.
  1. Your ability to taste gets weaker over time. Replacement taste buds start to slow down as you become an adult. The average adult has about 5,000 working taste buds instead of 10,000. This is why you may notice that elderly people tend to be slightly more heavy-handed with the salt.
  1. Your tongue is unable to taste the “flavor” spicy. Spicy is not one of the five official tastes because it’s not something detected as a flavor. Spice is “tasted” when your body reacts to capsaicin and the neurotransmitters that regulate heat are telling your neurons that things are getting too hot, which sometimes causes pain.

How many of these facts did you know? If you have any questions or notice any medical issues related to your mouth, tongue or teeth contact Candlewood Dental Care at 203-746-1200 or make an appointment here. Dr. Lorraine Burio has been treating and educating patients for over twenty-five years in the New Fairfield, CT area.