The tongue is a muscular organ on the floor of the mouth that help to mix, taste, enhance digestion and the swallowing of food among other functions. It also assists in speaking, singing and erogenous activities.
The tongue is the dirtiest part of the mouth because it has a rough surface. The ragged surface makes plaque and bacteria adhere to the tongue.

Most people brush their teeth daily but only very few clean their tongues. Guess what, bad breath is caused more by the tongue than by the teeth and gum combined, little wonder your breath hardly changes after brushing your teeth because you have left the tongue out.

Functions of the tongue

  • It helps to move and mix food around in the mouth.
  • It enables the teeth to chew properly.
  • It aids in swallowing food, saliva and every other we take.
  • It also helps in making different sounds so you can speak and form words.
  • It helps to clean the mouth.
  • It helps to sense and locate foreign bodies in the mouth.
  • The tongue plays a role in physical intimacy and sexuality. The tongue is part of the erogenous zone of the mouth and can be used in intimate contact.

Also through its taste buds, the tongue can taste food. Five main tastes stimulate the taste buds, they are: sweet, salty, bitter, sour and umami (savory).

There’s a widespread misunderstanding that different areas of the tongue taste distinct things. All of the taste buds can detect all five flavours — some areas of the tongue are just slightly more sensitive to certain tastes.

Appearance of a healthy tongue

A healthy tongue is normally pink, though the hues of light and dark can differ. If the tongue is discoloured, it could infer a health issue.

To maintain a healthy tongue, practice good oral hygiene. When you brush and floss your teeth, don’t forget to clean your tongue, also. You should also call upon your dentist for routine cleanings and examinations.

Resigning from smoking, drinking a lot of water and eating a balanced and adequate diet can also help keep your tongue healthy.

How to clean the tongue

You clean the surfaces of your teeth with a medium toothbrush because they are smooth and hard but brushing your tongue hardly wipes out anything from it because the surface is rough and soft.
The best way to clean your tongue is to scoop it with a tongue cleanser(scrapper) and do this in the morning when you have not eaten to avoid retching.

When you clean your tongue regularly, you will taste and enjoy your meal better.

Symptoms of diseased tongue

The tongue can say a lot about your general health. Listed below are symptoms that can affect your tongue:

  • Difficulty in moving the tongue.
  • Changes in taste.
  • Sores on the tongue, painful and non-painful.
  • Burning tongue.
  • Enlarge tongue.
  • Smooth tongue.
  • Changes in the colour of the tongue.

When to see a dentist

Keep in mind that most of the issues that affect the tongue have general health implications therefore seek help early when you notice unusual changes on your tongue.

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