It is used to talk, eat, chew, identify tastes and even to kiss with passion… We tell you four curiosities about the tongue, a very important organ for our body.
Although we may not be aware of it, the tongue is involved in many of the activities we perform every day. And for this it needs to be of a certain shape and have specific characteristics. Some of them are very curious, by the way.
Given its importance, it deserves care that we sometimes overlook. Read on and find out these curiosities about the tongue and how to keep it healthy.
Table of Contents
Tongue heals very quickly
Although biting the tongue is a fairly common and very annoying situation, these injuries usually heal quickly. One of the curiosities about the tongue is that it heals very quickly.
Wounds, sores and small lesions on its surface disappear in a short time thanks to the tissues that form it and the constant contact with saliva. Superficial wounds heal within a few days. The deeper ones do not persist for more than 3 weeks.
You should be attentive to lesions on the tongue that do not close. They may be an indication that something is wrong and you should consult a health professional.
Tongue does not get tired
One of the curiosities about the tongue is that this organ does not get tired or fatigued. And this despite the fact that it is in constant movement.
The tongue moves most of the day to eat, speak and swallow. And although it does not tire, it is not the strongest muscle in the body as some say. The jaw muscles exert more pressure; the gluteus and quadriceps exert more force. And the heart works the hardest.
Moreover, as we have already mentioned, the tongue is not a single muscle. It is made up of 17 different muscles that work together.
Tongue has more than 10,000 taste buds
Taste buds are a group of sensory receptors that allow us to perceive taste. They cannot be seen with the naked eye. They are tiny in size and are located inside the lingual papillae.
Therefore, the papillae that we mentioned when describing the tongue, which are observed as protuberances on the lingual surface, are not the taste buds, but contain them.
A person can have up to 10,000 taste buds. They are replaced approximately every 2 weeks.
As we age, some of them do not regenerate, decreasing their number. Older people may have between 2 and 5 thousand taste buds in function. This explains why children perceive taste differently from adults.
You should know that, thanks to the taste buds, it is possible to distinguish the taste of food, but not its flavor. This requires the sense of smell. From the combination of taste and smell comes the real taste of food. This is why, when we have a cold, some foods may feel bland.
The tongue is commonly divided into different zones that perceive different tastes. But the truth is that all tastes (sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami) can be felt in all parts of the tongue.
It is true that most of the taste buds are located on the tongue. But there are other parts of the body that also have them. Taste receptors have been found in the back of the throat, in the epiglottis, sinuses and nose. Infants and young children perceive taste through the mucous membranes of their lips and cheeks.
Tongue can become fat
This is another of the tongue’s curiosities. There is a correlation between the volume of fat on the tongue and obesity. As you gain weight, this organ also gets fatter.
In addition, a large tongue may be associated with obstructive sleep apnea disorder. This condition, in which breathing stops for a moment during sleep, is very common in obese people.