The tongue plays an important role in our oral and general health.

We all know that it is important to brush and floss our teeth every day, but did you know that your tongue also plays a role in maintaining your oral health? In fact, the tongue has a range of functions that allow us to taste, speak and swallow. We’ve put together some interesting facts that you may not know about your tongue, as well as some tips on taking proper care of it…

1. Your tongue protects against germs

At the base of the tongue, at the back of the mouth, there is a collection of cells known as the lingual tonsil. These cells, along with the palatine tonsils and the adenoids, help to defend the body against germs that come into the mouth. For this reason, the tongue plays a very important role in your oral and general health.

2. The tongue traps bacteria

Throughout the course of the day, bacteria accumulate on the tongue. If you don’t clean your tongue regularly, these bacteria can build up and lead to bad breath. To keep your tongue clean and your breath fresh, be sure to brush your tongue when you brush your teeth at least twice a day. You might also consider using an anti-bacterial mouthwash on a daily basis.

3. The tip of your tongue is the most sensitive body part

Did you know that the tip of your tongue is the most sensitive part of your entire body? This serves two purposes. Firstly, this level of sensitivity gives the tongue a kind of magnifying effect that makes objects feel larger than they actually are — this helps you to easily identify unwanted objects, such as small bones or dirt, in your food. Secondly, when you have swallowed your food, your tongue is able to identify any leftover particles in your mouth with ease.

4. The tongue has eight muscles

The tongue is made up of eight muscles, some of which are intrinsic, and some of which are extrinsic. The intrinsic muscles allow you to move and guide the tip of the tongue, while the extrinsic muscles are attached to the bone and are responsible for changing the position of the tongue. All of these muscles work together to give you the ability to move your tongue in all the ways that are necessary for eating and speaking.

5. The tongue contains thousands of taste buds

The tongue contains thousands of taste buds — in fact, this number varies from person to person and could be anywhere from 2000 to 10,000. As well as taste buds, your tongue also contains hundreds of receptor cells. These cells have the ability to regenerate and are replaced every week or two. Thanks to these cells, as well as the digestive enzymes in saliva, your tongue is able to taste five different flavours — these include sweet, sour, salty, savoury and bitter.

How do you take care of your tongue?

It is advisable that you clean your tongue as part of your daily dental hygiene routine. This will help to get rid of bacteria that may have built up throughout the day and keep your breath smelling fresh.

Possibly the easiest way to keep your tongue clean is to simply brush it with a soft-bristled toothbrush. If you prefer, you can use a tongue scraper, which is specially designed to remove the debris and plaque from the surface of your tongue.

It’s also a good idea to see your dentist for a regular dental clean as this will ensure that your mouth stays in tip-top condition.

How can we help?

The team at Dental Artistry understands that achieving optimal oral health is about more than your teeth and gums. For this reason, we help our patients take care of their entire mouth. We offer comprehensive examinations, which are tailored to your specific needs and priorities. To find out what to expect at one of these appointments, please have a look here.

If you would like to arrange an appointment, please give us a call on 09 524 4541 or get in touch with us here.