The tongue is an important organ of the body. The tongue helps us to be able to taste food that we eat. The tongue also helps us to talk.
The tongue is considered a muscle and it is made up of pink tissue that is called mucosa.
Functions of the Tongue
The front of the tongue is flexible, and it helps us to create different sounds that we say.
That’s why when you hold your tongue and try to say words such as “this” and “think” it is almost impossible.
The back of the tongue also helps us to make sounds like the “g” and “k” sounds. The tongue helps us to speak and to sing.
The tongue helps us to eat by moving the food around the mouth to the teeth so that the teeth can break the food down.
While the teeth grounds up the food, the food gets mixed with saliva and the tongue pushes the food down the throat where it will eventually end up in the stomach.
The surface of the tongue feels rough because it is covered with small bumps and these are called papillae.
These papillae contain our taste buds and the taste buds help us to taste with there being over 10,000 different taste buds.
The taste buds can help us to determine sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami. Umami has only been added to the taste buds in the past few years and this is the taste that is called savory.
Umami is a Japanese word called yummy. Umami foods include foods like parmesan cheese, ketchup, soy sauce and more.
The tongue can taste different foods all at one time. The taste buds of the tongue connect to nerves that are running to the brain so that the brain can help to determine the taste.
Facts About the Tongue:
- The part that holds down the front part of the tongue is called the frenum.
- The back of the tongue is held down by a bone called the hyoid bone.
- The tongue is sometimes called the “taste map” because different parts of the tongue taste the different flavors.
- The tongue is unique because it is the only muscle that is not connected to a bone at both ends.
- The tongue is also unique because the hyoid bone that holds down the back of the tongue is not connected to any other bone in the body.
- According to the “taste” or “tongue” map, the bitter taste is in the back of the tongue, sour is on both sides towards the back, salty is on both sides towards the front and the front of the tongue detects sweets.
What Did You Learn?
- How many different taste buds do most people have? Most people have over 10,000 different taste buds on their tongue.
- What is the pink tissue that the tongue is made up of called? The pink tissue is called the mucosa.
- The part of the tongue that holds down the front of the tongue is called what? The frenum holds down the front of the tongue.
- What are the five tastes that the tongue can taste? The tongue can taste sweet, salty, bitter, sour and umami.
- What does the word umami mean in Japanese? The word umami means yummy in Japanese.
- What are the two main functions of the tongue? The two main functions of the tongue are for talking and for tasting.
- What is one thing that the tongue does to help us eat? The tongue moves the food around the mouth to help the teeth chew the food. The tongue also helps us to eat by pushing the food to the back of the throat which takes the food on a trip to the stomach.