Our tongue, without it, we would be unable to eat, breathe, or even talk. Here are eight fun facts about the tongue that you probably did not know.
- The longest tongue measures 10 centimeters long, measuring from the back of the throat to the tip of the tongue when it sticks out beyond the lips. Nick Stoeberi holds the world record for the longest tongue and claims his title in the Guinness Book of World Records. Later, he even beat his record at measuring 10.1 cm long for his tongue. He was quoted as not only being able to lick his nose but his elbow too!
- Did you know those tiny little pinkish white bumps on your tongue are not your actual taste buds? We cannot see our taste buds with the naked eye. Those tiny spots you see are hair-like projections referred to as papillae and our taste buds live on the end of the papillae.
- The average tongue is home to thousands of taste buds. Tongues have anywhere from 2,000-10,000 taste buds that die off and regrow about ever 10-14 days! The number of taste buds you have on your tongue determines how well you can taste. If you have more than 10,000 taste buds you are thought to be a “supertaster,” but people with fewer taste buds are referred to as “nontasters.”
- You do not sense different tastes in different areas of your tongue, despite what you may have heard. Your taste buds taste flavors such as sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami, equally across the tongue.
- Being able to curl your tongue is not entirely related to genetics. Myth, the ability to curl one’s tongue is an inherent trait. This is not the case as a recent family study of two twins proved this myth wrong. In fact, the ability to roll one’s tongue is a combination of genes and the environment.
- Your tongue is not the strongest muscle in your body. Although your tongue is made up of eight different muscles, is extremely flexible and never seems to tire from enjoying activities such as eating or talking, it is not the strongest muscle in the body. Your jaw muscles produce the most pressure, your quads and glutes exert the most force, and, of course, your heart does the most work overall.
- The color of your tongue is related to your health. A healthy tongue is a pink shade, except maybe after you have consumed a blue icy. However, some allergies and infections may cause glossitis, which is swelling and redness of the tongue. If your tongue appears bright-red and is accompanied by a fever and sore throat, you may have a more serious condition and should consider consulting a physician. White patches that appear on the tongue can be a sign of thrush, a treatable fungal infection. If your tongue feels smoother than normal, it may be a sign that you lack proper nutrients such as folic acid, B-12, or iron. A tongue that appears darker in color is typically due to staining from tobacco or beverages. If your tongue is red with blisters, it could be that you suffer from low saliva production. In this case, consult a physician for consideration of an underlying medical condition or side effect from a medication that you may take.
- An oversized tongue could be a sign that you have a sleep apnea disorder. The human tongue does have fat, but the amount of fat is related to one’s weight. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania recently studied the tongues of obese people who also had obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The study concluded that people with a higher percentage of body fat also suffered from OSA when compared to people without OSA. This finding supports the fact that obese people are more likely to suffer from OSA.
For more information about oral health, please contact Wall Street Dentistry of Albertville. Wall Street Dentistry provides services such as preventative maintenance, cosmetic dentistry, treatment of OSA and more. Call (256) 878-0525 to schedule your consultation. We proudly welcome patients from the Boaz and Guntersville areas.