9 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About the Tongue | Glen Burnie MD Dentist

Cosmetic Dentist in Glen Burnie, MD

We use our tongues every day to talk, taste, and swallow, yet we rarely take time to think about this flexible organ. Here are 9 things you may not know about the tongue: 

  1. The longest recorded tongue was more than 3.8 inches from back to tip; the widest measured over 3” across. 
  2. The human tongue contains 8 separate muscles intertwined. 
  3. A blue whale tongue weighs about 5,400 pounds and is roughly the size of an adult elephant! 
  4. Tongues come in many shapes and have varying numbers of taste buds. This makes a human tongue imprint as unique as a fingerprint. 
  5. The average person has about 10,000 taste buds in their mouth. 
  6. A single taste bud contains between 50 and 100 taste cells, which may have sensors for multiple tastes. 
  7. No individual taste cell can identify both bitter and sweet flavors. 
  8. 1 milliliter of saliva contains about 1,000,000 bacteria. 
  9. Using a tongue scraper to clean your tongue is proven to help prevent osteoporosis, pneumonia, heart attacks, premature births, diabetes, and male infertility. 

Health issues involving the tongue are most commonly caused by bacteria or tobacco use. Proper cleaning of the tongue can help prevent these conditions from developing. However, if you notice sores, discoloration, or other symptoms, contact our office. 

Some tongue-affecting illnesses include: 

  • Leukoplakia – excessive cell growth characterized by white patches in the mouth and on the tongue. It is not dangerous, but can be a precursor to oral cancer. 
  • Oral thrush – an oral yeast infection common after antibiotic use, often characterized by cottage-cheese like white patches on the surface of the tongue and mouth. 
  • Red tongue – may be caused by a deficiency of folic acid and/or vitamin B-12. 
  • Hairy tongue – black and/or hairy-feeling tongue can be caused by build-up of bacteria. 
  • Canker sores – small ulcerous sores on the tongue, often associated with stress. These sores are not the same as cold sores and are not contagious. 
  • Oral cancer – most sore tongue issues are not serious. However, if you have a sore or lump on your tongue that does not heal within a week or two, schedule a screening. 

For more information about the tongue or to schedule a screening with our doctor, contact our office.

Glen Park Family Dentistry
Phone: (410) 761-1100
633 Greenway Rd. SE
Glen Burnie, MD 21061

“My passion is in making people feel at home when they come to my office. Sure, you may have had bad experiences in the past, or you might be worried about something that’s going on right now, but we are here to help you. Let’s talk about any concerns you might have, use the latest and greatest in technology to diagnose and explain, and then let’s make a plan that fits your goals.

I’m not here just to fix a cavity or pull that achy tooth - I’m here to make your oral health a part of your overall health, and make sure you are smiling your best smile and living your best life.”

- Dr. Christopher Sanginiti

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Monday:8:00 am – 4:00 pm
Tuesday:8:00 am – 4:00 pm
Wednesday:10:00 am – 7:00 pm
Thursday:8:00 am – 3:00 pm
Friday:8:00 am – 1:00 pm
Saturday:Closed
Sunday:Closed

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