The tongue is an important muscle in your mouth and throat that’s not just great for sticking out at people! It helps you taste food (and things that you shouldn’t eat), helps to move food around your mouth and down your throat when you chew and swallow, and of course, it helps you to speak.
Try to wrap your tongue about the names of these tongue parts!
1. Palatine tonsil – lumps on the right and left side of the tongue and beginning of the throat; these tonsils produce antigens, or infection-fighting cells in your body
2. Lingual tonsil – bumpy regions on the very back of the tongue; these tonsils produce white blood cells to help fight off infections
3. Circumvallate papillae – 8-12 volcano-shaped bumps filled with taste buds near the back of the tongue; these structures are very sensitive to quick taste changes
4. Filiform papillae – stringy cone-shaped structures that lack taste buds; their function is to add texture to the tongue witch helps to push food around to the teeth and to the throat
5. Fungiform papillae – small mushroom-shaped bumps on the tongue; these bumps contain lots of taste buds which can detect sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami tastes
Have you ever heard that different parts of your tongue have different taste buds? Many people believe that the tongue has special zones that can ONLY taste certain tastes, like sweet at the front or sour to the sides.
In fact, this isn’t true and taste buds all over your tongue can taste all of the major tastes. However, the parts of this muscle shown here are ESPECIALLY SENSITIVE to the different tastes, so the tip of your tongue can taste even the tiniest amount of salt, and the back picks up very small hints of bitter tastes!
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