Your tongue is the strongest and most flexible muscle in your body. It’s important to take good care of your tongue to help you function properly. Dr. Locke can help keep your teeth, gums, tongue, cheeks, and all areas of your mouth healthy. Let’s examine the importance of a healthy tongue.

Keeping Your Tongue Clean

Your tongue is the fastest healing body part, but it’s still important to keep it clean and healthy to avoid damage in the first place. Almost half of the bacteria in your mouth live on the surface of your tongue. You should always make sure you brush all four inches of your tongue as part of your oral care routine. Bacterial buildup can lead to dry mouth and bad breath. Your tongue helps keep your teeth clean, because the moisture can rinse away bacteria. A clean tongue will also help you chew and taste properly.

How Do I Taste?

Taste is the weakest of the five senses. Those tiny bumps on the surface of your tongue are called papillae, and they contain most of your taste buds. Your taste buds have tiny hair-like structures called microvilli, which send messages to your brain to help detect a taste. Your tongue has about 10,000 taste buds, with 10 percent also found along your cheeks and palate. Your sweet and salty taste buds are located at the tip of the tongue, bitter is found at the base, and sour taste buds are on the sides of your tongue. Your taste buds are replaced every two weeks to keep your sense of taste strong.

How Your Tongue Helps You Speak

Your tongue hits different teeth and areas of your mouth to pronounce different sounds. It’s the only muscle in your body that is attached at only one end, and the frenulum linguae (the flap under your tongue) helps your tongue move freely. When you feel tongue-tied, it simply means that your tongue is not moving fast enough to produce the right sounds.

Dr. Locke will examine your mouth and your unique tongue print to make sure you’re keeping all areas clean, healthy, and strong. Contact our dentist office in Waco, Texas, at (254) 776-4888 to schedule an appointment. We welcome patients from Waco, Woodway, McGregor, Hewitt, and surrounding Central Texas communities.