The structure located beneath the tongue is called the frenulum or lingual frenulum. This thin membrane or band of tissue is oriented vertically to connect the tongue to the bottom of the mouth.
The tongue is essential for speaking, chewing, swallowing and tasting. The top of the tongue is rough due to the small bumpy protrusions called papillae, which help grip food and move it around as a person chews. The papillae also contain the taste buds that allow a person to experience the sensations of salty, bitter, sweet and sour. People are born with approximately 10,000 taste buds, some of which die off as a person ages.
Ankyloglossia, or tongue tie, is a disorder in which the lingual frenulum limits the tongue’s range of motion because it is unusually short, tight or thick. A person with this condition may encounter difficulties when eating, speaking and swallowing and be unable to stick out his tongue. It is possible that the lingual frenulum relaxes or loosens up on its own over time. A frenotomy procedure is performed in simple cases. If the frenulum is too thick for a frenotomy or if the case is more complicated, the patient may require the more extensive frenuloplasty surgery.Learn More
Tongue rolling was once believed to be purely a genetic trait. However, Dr. John H. McDonald of the University of Delaware points out that recent studies show that there are factors beyond genetics in determining who can and cannot roll their tongue.Full Answer >
The tongue’s main function is to help people eat. It promotes the sucking mechanism and helps transform solid foods into a substance that is easily swallowed. It also helps people determine flavors and tastes because of its rich supply of taste buds.Full Answer >
The uvula is the small piece of pink tissue that hangs down from the roof of a person's mouth near the throat. A uvula is an extension of the soft palate, and its purpose isn't fully understood.Full Answer >
A tongue that has been completely severed does not grow back at all on its own; however, a tongue that has received severe lacerations, if it receives proper treatment, has the ability to recover rapidly. The amount of time recovery takes depends on the extent of the injury. In at least one instance, a tongue severed in an accident was successfully reattached in a patient's mouth.Full Answer >