Interesting Facts About the Tongue

Is your tongue a muscle, or an organ? As one of the major components of your oral cavity, the human tongue holds many mysteries—some simply interesting, and some that hold significant implications for your oral and overall health. Today, we examine a few fun facts about your tongue, including how it can warn you of oral health trouble.

Tongue Facts

  • Your tongue is the biological equivalent of a superhero. It’s not only the strongest muscle in your body (the record for the strongest tongue belongs to a man who used his to lift a 24lb, 3oz weight); your tongue also heals faster than any other part of your body.
  • Everyone’s taste buds are concentrated mostly on the tongue, but not everyone has the same size tongue, or amount and pattern of taste buds. As distinctive as fingerprints, your tongue’s imprint is completely unique from everyone else’s.
  • Even though you can consciously control it, your tongue still has a mind of its own, and will keep working even when you’re unconscious. For instance, when you sleep, your tongue stays awake, actively redirecting saliva into your throat.
  • You might know that dental plaque, the sticky film that develops on your teeth, is made mostly of bacteria, but did you know that your tongue also houses a disturbing number of bacterial colonies? In fact, the germs often responsible for chronic bad breath prefer your tongue’s surface when congregating. To keep your tongue clean, be sure to brush it with your toothbrush or tongue scraper at least twice a day.
  • When you aren’t well, the color and texture of your tongue can change as a warning, becoming angry red, white, patchy, and in some cases, nearly black. If you notice a change in your tongue’s appearance, schedule an appointment with your oral health specialist as soon as possible.


Shawn Hofkes, DDS, is highly qualified to address complex issues, including the diagnosis and treatment of destructive gum disease. To schedule your appointment or consultation with Dr. Hofkes, contact us today by calling 562-584-4082. We proudly serve patients of all ages from Cerritos, Lakewood, Long Beach, Buena Park, and all surrounding communities.