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7 Tongue Facts You Probably Did Not Know

Update Date: Oct 13, 2014 01:51 PM EDT

The tongue is a muscular organ that gives us the ability to taste different types of flavors. It also enables us to talk and breath every single day. Here are seven facts about the tongue that you probably did not know:

1. There is a Guinness record for world's longest tongue

Last month, the Guinness World Records added Nick Stoeberi as the holder of the longest tongue to ever be recorded in history. Stoeberi's tongue measured 10.1 centimeters, which is nearly four inches long. The previous record was 9.8 cm. According to Stoeberi, he can lick his nose and elbow.

2. It has thousands of taste buds

It should be no surprise that our tongues are made up of taste buds. What is surprising is that you can have anywhere from 2,000 to 10,000 taste buds. People with more than 10,000 taste buds are dubbed "supertasters," whereas people on the other end of the spectrum are known as "nontasters." Taste buds die and regenerate every 10 to 14 days.

3. Taste buds are invisible

The little dots on your tongue are not taste buds because taste buds are invisible to the human eye. Instead, the dots are called papillae, which are projections where the taste buds sit.

4. There are no taste sections

Your tongue works as a whole entity. There are no sections dedicated to different tastes. So if you eat something sweet, your entire tongue can taste it.

5. Tongue is not the strongest muscle

The tongue works every single day and never gets tired, which is why some people might think that it is the strongest muscle in our body. However, the tongue is not the strongest in terms of pressure and force production. It also does not work the hardest everyday.

6. Color can indicate health

The color of your tongue can help doctors with their diagnoses. A normal healthy tongue will have a pink shade. When the tongue is redder than usual, it could indicate allergies or infections. A red colored tongue combined with a sore throat and fever can suggest that your body is fighting a serious infection. A tongue with white patches can be a sign of a fungal infection called thrust. A tongue that is smoother than usual could mean a lack of nutrients, such as iron, folic acid and vitamin B12.

7. Fat tongue can mean sleep apnea

According to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, a fat tongue could be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This study found that obese people with OSA tended to have fatter tongues, which could explain why obese people have a higher prevalence of OSA.

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