Human tongue is the most ignored organ, of course except special times. However, it is one of the most interesting organs in our body. We cannot live without brain, heart or lungs but we can live without our tongue. However, that does not mean that we don’t need it. This particular organ is important because it helps us to taste our food! There are other important functions of tongue as well. So, let us today learn 20 interesting human tongue facts. Are you ready?
1. Did you know that tongue is the only muscle in human body that works without any support from the skeleton? Yes! It is known as muscular hydrostat.
2. Our tongue is the home of our taste buds. When looked under a magnifying glass, hundreds and thousands of small bumps will become visible on the tongue. These bumps are known as papillae and are the actual home of our taste buds.
3. Tongue is not the only place where taste buds live. Taste buds can also be found on the inside of our cheeks, on lips, on the roof of our mouth and even under the tongue.
4. Approximately, there are 10,000 taste buds in our mouth of which 8,000 live on our tongue and the remaining 2,000 are found in the places we mentioned in the previous point.
5. There are specific segments on tongue for sensing different tastes. The notion that different parts of the tongue is responsible for sensing different types of tastes (in other words, there are taste belts) is actually a myth. Our tongue can taste sour, sweet, bitter, salty and umami. Umami is actually a very new variant of taste discovered by a Japanese scientist who found that the chemical that is responsible for this taste is monosodium glutamate.
6. Our tongue is the only muscle in our body that is capable of sensing taste and sending taste signals to the brain. Each individual taste bud has around 15 receptacles that are responsible for carrying taste signals to our brain.
7. The tongue is THE STRONGEST muscle in entire body. However, it is at the same time, one of THE MOST sensitive muscles as well.
8. In terms of flexibility, tongue beats every other muscle in our body! Because of this flexibility, the tongue is capable of easily manipulating food inside the mouth and is also capable of acting as a natural cleanser for our teeth after a meal.
9. Our tongue has a very unique property. It is incapable of detecting taste if it is dry. This means that if you place a piece of lemon on a dry tongue, you will not be able to tell that it is sour. The tongue gets its ability to sense taste only in the presence of saliva that keeps it moist.
10. The color of the tongue can tell a lot about a person’s health. Here are some color indications about health: Pink Tongue = Good Health; White Tongue = Fungal Infection and Yellow Tongue = Stomach Problem or Fever.
11. Tongueprints (actually tongue imprints) of humans are unique (very much same as the fingerprints). Tongues of different humans are of different shapes and will have different number of taste buds, thus making the tongue imprints unique.
12. Tongue has a really really rough texture. Did you ever notice that while kissing someone?
13. Women have shorter tongues compared to males.
14. We mentioned in point 9 that a dry tongue is incapable of detecting taste. That’s because taste buds are capable of sensing taste only when molecules of the food (or whatever you put in your mouth) dissolve in water (our saliva consists of water). This essentially means that you cannot sense taste of anything whose molecules do not dissolve in water even if you have a moist tongue. Ever tried tasting glass?
15. Here is an interesting tongue fact – you don’t keep your tongue clean and you will get bad breath. Why so? That’s because our mouth is the home of 600 different types of bacteria and a single saliva drop contains 1 million of those bacteria. Our entire tongue remains moist due to saliva. So, can you ever imagine the number of bacteria present on our tongue?
16. Every taste bud on our tongue has somewhere between 50 and 100 taste sensing cells. No individual cell is capable of tasting more than one taste.
17. About 2/3rd of the tongue is visible and the remaining 1/3rd is not visible. The part that is not visible is close to the throat.
18. In Tibet, you can merrily stick your tongue out at others. It will not be considered rude or childish. In Tibet, it is actually a greeting.
19. The tongue is more important than we think. It does not only help to taste food but also helps to talk, to spit, to swallow and even to kiss.
20. The longest human tongue to be ever recorded was 3.86 inches from back to tip. The widest tongue measured 3.1 inches. The longest female tongue to be ever recorded was 2.76 inches.
Well, that concludes our 20 interesting human tongue facts. If you have more in your arsenal, feel free to share.
Founder and Chief Editor of Facts Legend, Sankalan believes that information should be free. He is a dreamer and loves reading, writing, traveling and above all, sleeping. Sometimes he gets really confused about things happening in life but then again, he manages to get things back on track. He practices Tai Chi whenever he gets time. Slightly unsocial by nature, he still manages to get along with people pretty well. He hates politics and absolutely hates people who like to judge others.