Your Tongue: a Fascinating Phenomenon With Dental Benefits Too
The tongue made a starring foray onto our television screens via those strange ads for a well-known bottled beer sold in Australia. This starring disembodied tongue would make nightly sojourns to commune with said brand of beer independent of its owner who remained blissfully asleep and unaware. What this had to say about the role of your tongue within Australian culture I am not quite sure. However, our tongues are important, if somewhat unseen, organs with an essential role to play in our lives. The tongue is an intimate taster and smeller whom without we would be all the poorer in our lives. Your tongue: a fascinating phenomenon with dental benefits too. Your superstar tongue allows you to speak, swallow, suck, taste, and French kiss.
What is a Tongue?
A tongue is a moveable set of muscles with lots of nerves. Its surface is covered with dense connective tissue and mucous membrane. Most importantly, the tongue (unlike in that weird beer ad) is rooted to the floor of the mouth. Helping you eat is the tongue’s number one job. Your tongue pushes the food inside your mouth into your teeth for grinding and cutting. It plays an important role in making the eating process highly efficient. It manipulates food inside your mouth for mastication. Swallowing would be more difficult without the assistance of your slippery tongue. The tongue provides an essential service for our infants breastfeeding. Tongues are obviously sexy in their hidden manner for lovers. Without a tongue you cannot properly speak, enunciating words and sounds rely heavily upon an active tongue. Gourmands and wine tasting experts would be denuded without a healthy tongue to smell and taste the myriad of olfactory sensations. Scientists report that functional olfactory receptors are present on the tongue, as well as in the nose. Your taste buds are on the top of your tongue too. Saliva plays a key role in the tongue’s doings. The upper surface of the tongue is called the dorsum.
What Are These Dental Benefits Provided by the Tongue?
The tongue is involved in defending us against germs. The tongue has to deal with bacteria, food detritus, and whatever comes its way. Our tongues, as I am sure you are aware, play a role in cleaning out bits of stuck food lodged between teeth. It is important to keep our tongues clean and not let build ups of bacteria contribute to more plaque and tartar on our teeth and gums. Dentists agree that daily tongue cleaning via a scraper or brush is beneficial to good oral hygiene. The tongue surface has little bumps called papillae on it and these are perfect for trapping stuff like food debris, dead cells, and bacteria. Help your tongue out by gently cleaning it whenever you can. It can assist in reducing bad breath as well for those more motivated by narcissistic considerations. The tongue is our body’s natural implement for cleaning our teeth.
Don’t Bite Your Tongue
Remember your tongue, as it may not be as visible as other parts of your body like your eyes and smiling teeth, but your tongue plays an essential role in your dental hygiene. Your mouth is made up of many parts and your tongue is a vital part of the team. The fascinating tongue feels its way around your teeth and oral cavity checking things out and doing its bit to keep everything rolling along efficiently. Tongue in cheek I say, “remember your tongue.” Especially when eating, as there is nothing quite like accidentally biting your own tongue. Bite your tongue may be an idiom referring to the need to remain schtum or keep quiet, but it places our tongue firmly in the spotlight just the same. Our tongue moves about at its tip in contrast to the ever stationary nature of our teeth and gums. Of course much of the movement of our tongue is instinctive and most times we are not conscious of what our tongues are up to during eating and drinking.
The Osseus Vault of the Palate
The tongue magic happens in terms of taste and sensory identification when the tongue is pressed against the osseus vault of the palate or put more simply, the top of your mouth. It is this meeting of nerve endings that forms a complete impression of whatever is inside our mouth, be it food or some other foreign object. Taste is our earliest sensation if you examine the life of a newborn child, as it encounters the world through its mouth and tongue. All small children place things inside their mouths to discover their secrets, much to the distaste of their parents at times. However, this is entirely natural in the scheme of things. An oral encounter of the world is our first step as human beings outside of our mothers. The yeasty, milksop realm of the infant is perfectly attuned to the abilities and characteristics of the human tongue.
Tongue Damage & Cancers
Smokers and heavy drinkers are damaging their tongues via their bad habits. You can imagine the fate of this gentle organ as it is smoked and pickled to the detriment of its health and that of its owner. A sensitive instrument designed to facilitate knowledge of the intimate realm is treated appallingly by human beings with less sense than animals. Addictions like those generated by nicotine and alcohol render so many people blind to the obvious damage they are doing to themselves. Oral cancers are particularly nasty forms of very dangerous diseases. Survival rates from oropharyngeal cancers if not caught early are low. In 2019, according to figures from the National Drug Research Institute at Curtin University, smoking costs the Australian economy $136.9 billion.
Your tongue: a fascinating phenomenon with dental benefits too, which must be looked after for best results. Keep your tongue in your mouth and avoid overdoing it with beer, wine, smoking, and other harmful alcoholic tipples. A happy tongue means fewer dental problems in the long run. Bring some consciousness to what and how you eat and drink. A healthy diet and moderation where possible will provide the optimum environment for oral harmony. Keeping all of our team, tongue, teeth, gums, and mouth, on-side will produce a better performance over the course of your life span. Remember those moments and memories when your tongue sensed special stuff and you will honour the health of your slippery friend.
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