For such a seemingly small part of your body, the tongue actually plays a major role in many everyday functions, such as talking, helping you digest and taste food, and swallowing. In fact, the appearance of your tongue may speak volumes about the state of your oral and overall health.
Did you know your mouth is home to more than six million bacteria of 700 different types. In fact, of all the body parts, the mouth has the most bacteria. The environment of the mouth is ideal for unicellular microorganisms. Most of the bacteria in the mouth are found on the tongue.
The structure and texture of the tongue are the reasons why bacteria quickly accumulate on it. Two-thirds of the tongue’s front surface is covered with papillae, which gives the tongue its rough, carpet-like appearance. Additionally, the tongue has many crevices, nooks, and crannies that make perfect hiding spots for bacteria.
Bacteria, food particles, and dead cells that lodge between the papillae form a white coating when the tongue is neglected. This condition is called white tongue. While white tongue is often not a symptom of a severe health condition, it does impact a person’s oral and overall health.