Do I really need to pay attention to my tongue?
Many times, our tongues are overlooked when we think about our oral health. Oral healthcare providers like your dentist, however, always take a look at your tongue during checkups. This is because your tongue is an integral part of the oral health system. Beyond the tongue’s role in our oral health, it is a fascinating part of our anatomy. Following are some fun facts about the tongue along with reasons why you should incorporate cleaning your tongue in your oral hygiene routine and check for changes to its color and texture on a monthly basis.
Fun Tongue Trivia
Our tongues are interesting parts of our bodies. The following facts might surprise you:
- The tongue is the only muscle in the body that isn’t connected to skeletal structure. In a way, a human tongue is similar to an elephant’s trunk.
- Proper enunciation is impossible without the tongue.
- The small visible bumps on our tongues that are commonly mistakenly for taste buds are actually papillae.
- About half of the bacteria in our mouth lie on our tongues.
- Your tongue assists with removing food particles from your teeth after you eat.
Cleaning Your Tongue
Since about half of the mouth’s bacteria are on our tongue, it is important to clean our tongues during oral hygiene. You can clean your tongue by gently brushing it with the bristles of your toothbrush or by purchasing a tongue scraper. This will help remove bacteria and aid in achieving fresher breath.
Examining Your Tongue for Changes in Appearance
In addition to cleaning your tongue, you should take a look at it from time to time. The color of your tongue can signify fungal infections like thrush and indicate possible cancerous lesions. Oral cancers commonly develop on the tongue. While dentists will perform an annual oral cancer screening, your vigilance is important, too. If you notice changes in the way your tongue feels—especially during oral function—or changes in its color, schedule an appointment with your oral healthcare provider for a checkup.
If cancer is suspected, patients will have a biopsy taken. Like other forms of potentially serious illness, early detection normally increases a person’s chances of recovery.
Contact our team at Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center today!