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Tongue Talk: 6 Facts You Didn’t Know About This Vital Organ


Palatine Dentist

The tongue is so important for so many functions—including digestion, taste, and speech. However, many people overlook this important muscle when performing their daily dental hygiene routine. So what makes the tongue so special and worthy of your attention? Just check out these six interesting facts!

1. The surface of your tongue harbors a lot of bacteria.

If you look closely at your tongue, you may see multitudes of tiny bumps on the surface. These are called papillae, and they can harbor germs that impact your breath, taste, and even the appearance of your tongue. In fact, scientists have discovered that a third of the bacteria found on people’s tongues weren’t growing on any other surface of the mouth. It is important to keep this bacteria in check, and the best way to do so is to brush your tongue every time you brush your teeth!

2. Tongues are, on average, about 3.2 inches long.

Measuring from the back of the throat to the tip of the tongue, the tongue is about 3.2 inches long. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the longest tongue belongs to Nick Stoeberl, and clocks in at 3.97 inches!

3. Some tongue may require a little extra maintenance.

If you are an open-mouth breather, suffer from dry mouth, or struggle with physical dexterity, you may need to pay extra attention to the tongue. This is because bacteria tends to flourish on tongues that are either lacking in saliva or are not properly cleaned. Be sure to talk to your dentist about methods to keep your tongue clean depending on your individual circumstances.

4. Contrary to popular belief, your tongue is not the strongest muscle in your body.

While the tongue is certainly fascinating in its flexibility, as well as it’s ability to not get tired despite all of the talking and eating we do every day, it is still not the strongest muscle in the body. Your heart does the most work on a daily basis, and the jaw muscle produces the most pressure.

5. The color of your tongue is helpful for diagnostics.

When you’re healthy, your tongue maintains a light pink coloration. If your tongue appears bright red, it can be an indicator of illness such as a sore throat. Fungal infections can be accompanied by white spots on the tongue. Therefore, if your tongue is changing color, then you may want to visit a doctor to have it looked at.

6. A larger tongue may be indicative of sleep apnea.

There has been a proven connection between obesity and sleep apnea. Recent studies performed by the University of Pennsylvania have shown that this may be caused by the fat deposits found on the tongue. With a larger tongue, you have a greater risk of obstruction during sleep.

Would you like to take better care of your tongue? Call Meadows Dental Care in Palatine to schedule your routine check-up!

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