Facts About Your Tongue

You use your tongue every day from eating to talking, but have you ever stepped back to think about just how important your tongue is? Take a look at these interesting facts about your tongue and why it is so important to you.

 

You Have Thousands of Taste Buds

 

 
The average tongue is home to up to ten thousand taste buds that allow you to enjoy your food. About every two weeks the taste buds on your tongue will die off and be replaced by new ones. These thousands of taste buds are not visible to the human eye, although you may think those small pink and white bumps present across the surface of the tongue, but these are papillae. The taste buds rest on top of these bumps.

 

Rolling the Tongue

 

 
We have heard time and time again that genetics is the only factor that controls our ability to roll our tongue, but this isn’t entirely true. There are also some environmental factors that play a role in our ability to do this. This belief is still being explored by scientists who argue that both genetic and environmental factors are at play when it comes to this ability.

 

Cat Got Your Tongue

 

 
Over 2500 years ago in Ancient Assyria, the phrase “cat got your tongue” originated. During this time the Assyrians were conquering other soldiers and criminals. When they conquered, they would cut out the tongue of their prisoners and feed them to the cats.

 

Your Tongue is an Introduction to Your Health

 

 
The tongue can be an indicator for overall health as well. When the tongue is healthy it is usually a shade of pink. Allergies and infections have the potential to cause swelling of the tongue and a darkening of color. In addition to this, there are certain medical conditions that will signal a noticeable change in the tongue. White patches on the tongue may indicate a fungal infection while a tongue that is too smooth may be indicative of a lack of nutrients.


Poor Dental Health Consequences

While we know that not taking care of our oral health will be detrimental to our teeth, did you know that it could influence the health of your entire body? Poor dental health can have greater consequences on your overall health than you may realize. Take a look at some of the biggest problems that can arise from neglecting this part of your body.

 

Dental Health Steps

 
 

 
To ensure proper dental health, it is important that all things associated are in place. This includes:

 

  • Brushing your teeth at least twice a day, morning and night. This is the simplest and most effective way to rid your mouth of bacteria and plaque before it has the chance to do damage.
  • Flossing is just as important as brushing for your health, but an alarming number of people don’t floss on a regular basis. It is estimated that only half of Americans will floss their teeth daily. This is essential for getting rid of any leftover particles between the teeth.
  • Scheduling a dental appointment for every six months can help detect problems before they become serious. More than a third of the American population did not have a dental appointment in the last year.
  • Eat the right foods that will promote healthy teeth and gums rather than causing more advanced problems.

 

These four steps together will be key in preventing the following health problems.

 

Health Consequences

 
 

 
These health consequences will make themselves known the longer you neglect the most basics of oral hygiene:

 

  • Halitosis – bad breath is often a complaint from many that can be taken care of with proper oral hygiene. Often when food gets stuck between our teeth and as they collect bacteria they begin to smell. Flossing and brushing together can remove these particles, reducing this occurrence.
  • Atherosclerosis – when there are high levels of bacteria that can cause disease in your mouth, it can cause the clogging of the Carotid Artery. This can lead to serious problems, including the risk of stroke.
  • Heart Disease – people who have periodontal disease (a bone deterioration around the teeth) have a higher risk of developing heart disease. The periodontal bacteria and plaque will enter the bloodstream from the gum, causing the arteries to narrow. In addition to this, cholesterol levels can rise in the face of gum disease and cavities.
  • Diabetes – Almost all adults, about 95%, who have diabetes also have periodontal disease. This can be the first indicator for this dangerous condition.


These are just a few of the health consequences that come when your teeth are not properly cared for. Make the changes in your dental hygiene to prevent more serious problems down the road.


Preventing Dental Anxiety

One of the most common yet unnecessary fears people hold is that of the dentist. Often times this fear stems from a bad previous experience, but this doesn’t need to define your future with dental work. The consequences of avoiding the dentist are far greater than you may realize. Make the necessary changes to prevent dental anxiety, ensuring a positive experience.

 

The Root of the Problem

 

There are different levels of dental anxiety with some so bad that they often lose sleep over the very thought of the dentist. This fear is most common in older people who have lived through some of the less advanced methods of oral care. It is important to recognize that much has changed in the past few decades, making dental care safer, more comfortable, and all around better. If you have had a previous bad experience with the dentist, don’t let that define your future oral care.

 

Communication

 
 

 
Any good relationship requires communication to be successful, and the dentist is no different. To better understand and defeat your dental anxiety, have an open conversation with your dentist, letting them know your fears. This will help your dentist understand why you are nervous, and provide solutions to these fears. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed if you are fearful, you are definitely not alone, and not even in the minority.

 

Sedation Dentistry

 
 

 
The stress can be just too much for some people. In these cases, sedation dentistry may be the best or only option. This gives you a medicated escape while the procedure is going on, helping to rid your experience of discomfort and anxiety. While most people won’t need their dental appointments to go this far, it is a possible option to discuss with your dentist.

 

Distract Yourself

 
 

 
Most dentist offices will offer entertainment to their patients to help take their minds away from the treatment. Don’t reject this service, instead use the headphones and television programs to distract yourself from the procedures happening in your mouth. Even just letting yourself daydream can be a welcomed distraction from the dental procedures.

 

Bring Someone You Trust

 
 

 
If you are still dreading your visit to the dentist, bring a trusted friend or family member with you for the first appointment. This familiar face can be a great comfort while you are in the dental chair, and can even work as a distraction to keep your mind off the work at hand. Talk with someone you feel close to and ask them to fill this role.


Don’t let your past dental anxieties have an impact on your future oral health. There are things you can do to make visiting the dentist a better experience. Make an effort, and understand that some of the fears you are experiencing may not even be relevant anymore.