When you hear the word ‘oral hygiene’, the first thing that strikes your mind is to take care about your teeth. But for a good overall health, each part of your mouth, from gums to tissue, tongue to teeth, each has a specific role to play. However, the part which is most often overlooked is your tongue.
Your tongue is really marvelous and it says a mouthful about your oral and overall health.
Your tongue is a muscular structure in the mouth covered by mucosa whose primary functions are chewing, taste, and speech.
Towards the front side of your tongue, frenulum, a small fold of mucous membrane, extends from the floor of the mouth to the midline of the tongue.
A U-shaped bone, known as hyoid bone, is situated at the root of the tongue, whose primary function is to serve as an attachment structure for the tongue and for muscles in the floor of the oral cavity.
Taste buds are sensory organs. Primarily, your tongue is the home for taste buds but it is not the only place where taste buds live. Taste buds can also be found on the inside of your cheeks, on lips, on the roof of your mouth. There are approximately 10,000 taste buds in your mouth. The four common tastes that your tongue can taste are sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. A fifth taste, called umami, results from tasting glutamate (present in Monosodium Glutamate).
Very few people know that the tongue is actually a very good measure of the overall well-being of the body. Be on the lookout for anything suspicious, your tongue might be trying to tell you.
There are many possible causes of tongue problems, ranging from harmless to serious. Some individuals are born with tongue conditions that are harmless. A more serious condition such as tongue cancer can be related to risk factors such as smoking and drinking alcohol. Additionally, a tongue problem may be a result of an underlying medical condition.
Any discoloration, lumps, sores or pain should be monitored and evaluated by a medical professional, if they don’t go away within two weeks. If you have any symptoms or concerns about the appearance of your tongue, schedule an appointment with us to ensure your positive oral health and safety.