We talk a lot about teeth. It can be expected – we are a dental office, after all. But, do you know that Dr. Korous is also concerned about the health of your tongue, too? The tongue is just as important to your mouth as your teeth and gums, and without it, you would not be able to taste, speak, or swallow. Here are some other facts about your tongue and a few ways to keep it healthy.
- The tongue heals faster than any other part of your body.
- The tongue is a muscle but functions independently of bones. (This makes it unique in comparison to all of the other muscles in the body.)
- Not only is the tongue a muscle, but it also contains muscles. Eight muscles help the tongue move, flip, fold, and curl.
- Although the tongue is a muscle, it contains eight muscles, too. These muscles allow you to curl, flip or fold your tongue.
- Your tongue helps you swallow by moving food to your throat.
- The tongue helps clean food out of your teeth after eating involuntarily. (Don’t stop flossing, though!)
- The average tongue contains 3,000 to 10,000 taste buds, but some individuals can have more than 30,000 taste buds!
- Ninety percent of taste buds are on the tongue, and ten percent are found on the cheeks and gums.
- Did you know that your tongue contains half of the bacteria in your mouth? This makes taking care of your tongue all that more important!
Which brings us to another point, how exactly should you take care of your tongue? Here’s what we recommend:
Brush regularly. Yes, brush your teeth, but also brush your tongue, too, to reduce bacteria build up. Some people opt to brush their tongue with a toothbrush, while others choose a tongue scraper as part of their regular oral hygiene routine.
When you brush, be gentle, or else you may damage your taste buds. You can add a layer of toothpaste to your tongue before you brush to make it a more comfortable process.
Rinse. Rinsing after brushing or scraping helps to get rid of bacteria and keep your mouth healthy. You can also add saltwater to your rinsing routine, occasionally, too! Use one cup of water with just half a teaspoon of salt and swish for 30 seconds to a minute.
Stay hydrated. Drinking enough water is critical for your tongue’s health and your health overall. Try to get at least half your body weight in ounces per day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, aim to drink 75 ounces of water per day.
A healthy tongue is pink; if your tongue is discolored or has white or black spots, sores, or lesions, it’s time to schedule a checkup with Dr. Korous by calling 972-987-4899