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The tongue is a muscular structure situated in the mouth and is a part of the oral cavity floor. It also forms a part of the anterior wall of the oropharynx. The muscular tongue is also well-supplied with blood vessels and nerves.
This gustatory organ or the sense organs for taste are made of small ovoid bodies called the taste buds. About 10,000 taste buds are present in adults, and this number is more in children. In old people, many taste buds degenerate and the taste sensitivity also decreases.
Here, let us learn more about the structure of the Human Tongue with a well-labelled diagram.
Well-labelled Diagram of Human Tongue
- The human tongue can be distinguished into three segments: the base, body, tip, or apex.
- The apex is present immediately behind the incisor teeth and is considered a mobile aspect of the tongue.
- It is followed by the body, which has rough superior and smooth inferior surfaces. The body is populated with three types of lingual papillae.
- The basal tongue forms the ventral wall of the oropharynx and the root is typically attached to the floor of the oral cavity. The root of the tongue is typically attached to the hyoid bone and mandible.
- Epiglottis is a cartilage flap that projects backwards and upwards behind the hyoid bone and the tongue.
- The tongue can be embryologically distinguished into two – the anterior (oral) part and the posterior (pharyngeal) part.
- These anterior and posterior parts are separated by a V-shaped groove called the terminal sulcus. The lingual tonsils are a part of the posterior tongue and are found behind the terminal sulcus. Whereas the palatine tonsils are found at the back of the throat.
- At the apex of the terminal sulcus, there is a small depression called the foramen cecum.
- Likewise, the dorsum of the tongue (upper surface) is symmetrically divided by the median sulcus. The foramen cecum demarcates the end of the median sulcus and the beginning of the terminal sulcus.
- Hundreds of papillae cover the superior surface of the tongue’s body.
- Most of the taste buds are located on the papillae of the tongue. These taste buds are also found in the mucosa of the epiglottis, pharynx, palate and the proximal oesophagus.
- The three major types of papillae on the tongue are – fungiform papillae, filiform papillae, and vallate or circumvallate papillae.
- The filiform papillae are small conical structures present over the tongue dorsum. They do not possess taste buds.
- The fungiform papillae are round structures present near the tip of the tongue over the anterior surface. These papillae are numerous in number but have a moderate amount of taste buds.
- The circumvallate papillae are large structures situated in the posterior region of the tongue. They are arranged in a V-shape and they also contain many taste buds.
- There are also foliate papillae present near the terminal sulcus, on the sides of the tongue.
- The undersurface of the tongue lacks papillae but has mucous folds known as the lingual frenulum.
The tongue plays a significant role in the chewing and swallowing of food. This sense organ transmits the taste signals to the brain and thus aids in taste sensation. It also secretes fluids to keep the mouth moist. Furthermore, this muscular organ in humans facilitates speech.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the three parts of the human tongue?
The human tongue can be divided into the tip or apex, body and base. The tip is the mobile aspect of the tongue which is followed by the body. The body is covered by numerous papillae and this portion is followed by the base of the tongue.
What is epiglottis?
Epiglottis is a leaf-shaped cartilage flap in the throat that prevents water and food from entering the windpipe and lungs. It projects backwards and upwards behind the hyoid bone and the tongue.
What are taste buds and papillae?
The superior surface of the tongue’s body contains numerous papillae. Taste buds are minute structures present around these papillae. These taste buds are made of gustatory cells and supporting cells.
Do you know your Tongue? | Class 4 I Learn with BYJU’S
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