Thursday, August 29, 2013


Has anyone ever told you that the tongue is a muscle? Well, that's only partly true: The tongue is really made up of many groups of muscles. These muscles run in different directions to carry out all the tongue's jobs.
The front part of the tongue is very flexible and can move around a lot, working with the teeth to create different types of words. This part also helps you eat by helping to move food around your mouth while you chew. Your tongue pushes the food to your back teeth so the teeth can grind it up.
The muscles in the back of your tongue help you make certain sounds, like the letters "k" and hard "g" (like in the word "go"). Try saying these letters slowly, and you'll feel how the back of your tongue moves against the top of your mouth to create the sounds.
The back of your tongue is important for eating as well. Once the food is all ground up and mixed with saliva (say: suh-lye-vuh), or spit, the back muscles start to work. They move and push a small bit of food along with saliva into your esophagus (say: ih-sah-fuh-gus), which is a food pipe that leads from your throat to your stomach.

Tongue Held Down Tight

Have you ever wondered what keeps you from swallowing your tongue? Look in the mirror at what's under your tongue and you'll see your frenulum (say: fren-yuh-lum). This is a membrane (a thin layer of tissue) that connects your tongue to the bottom of your mouth. In fact, the whole base of your tongue is firmly anchored to the bottom of your mouth, so you could never swallow your tongue even if you tried!