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Your Amazing Tongue – Look After It

Posted in Dental Care, General Dentistry, and Pediatric Dental

Four Flavors

We all have an amazing tongue. With it you can taste a range of sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. Your tongue has hundreds of nerves throughout that transmit taste signals to our brain. It was once thought that specific tastes were sensed by specific areas of the tongue (a taste road map). But we now know that all parts of the tongue can pass on the four different flavors we taste.

Tongue Injury

Because of its close relationship with our teeth, specifically its close location, it is not uncommon to accidentally bite the tongue and even cause damage to it inadvertently. If you have done this, you will have quickly decerned that the nerves of the tongue can transmit a considerable amount of pain signals to the brain as well. The tongue is known as one of your bodies most sensitive areas. It is also the second fastest healer in your body, second only to your eyes. It heals very quickly. In fact, Maxillofacial Surgeons who treat lacerations of the tongue are cautious about stitching up the tongue because it often heals more easily on its own. Plus, it’s difficult for a patient to keep their mouth open during the procedure. That’s why most tongue repair operations require sedation surgery.

A Quick Healer

Dental work can sometimes be the cause of tongue injuries. A sharp, broken filling or chipped tooth can do some real damage to your tongue. Most minor injuries heal in 12-24 hours, but significant puncture wounds can take up to 3 weeks to feel better. There are many ways the tongue can get damaged. People sometimes bite down on it during an impact, such as during a car accident or sporting event. Food or drinks that are too hot can burn the tongue easily. And frosty metal surfaces seem to call out to kids daring them to freeze the surface of their tongue firmly in place. Monkey bars, and doorknobs are exceptionally popular during winter.

Vaping and Smoking

Vaper’s tongue is a well-known but a relatively new problem that affects some vapers, more so to those who are new to vaping and unaware of the issue. Vapers have reported either loosing the ability to taste the vapor flavor altogether, or taste something horrible instead of their chosen vape flavor. Regular smoking can also numb the tongue and cause a weakened sense of taste.

Your Amazing Tongue

Your Amazing tongue also helps keep your mouth and teeth clean. It plays an intricate part in positioning and breaking up food and helping us swallow our food. When you consider everything your tongue does for you, it makes sense to look after it.

Not Ignored

Erbsville Dental doesn’t ignore the tongue during regular checkups. Your dentist will check the surface of the tongue for damage including signs of oral cancer. You may be reminded not to forget to brush your tongue during your regular routine of brushing and flossing. Doing so can get rid of more bacteria and promote a cleaner, better smelling mouth. To protect your tongue, your dentist will also be carful to keep new surfaces smooth while contouring new fillings or other dental work. Sharp edges of any kind don’t belong in your mouth as they can be an irritant to your tongue. Sometimes irregularities in our mouth, even small ones, are subconsciously noticed by your tongue and can become an obsession that can cause wear and tear.

Therefore, hats off to your amazing tongue, the mouth muscle that does so much for us. Take good care of it, you only have one.