Content of the material
- What is the tongue?
- Blood supply
- Clinical significance
- Sore on Side of Tongue Causes, White, Yellow, …
- Tip of My Tongue Finds the Word Youre Looking For
- Can You Do Anything to Prevent Tip-of-the-Tongue Phenomenon?
- Human Tongue Diseases:
- Tongue Cancer:
- Tongue Ulcer:
- Glossitis of the Tongue:
- Clinical aspects
- Avoiding TOT Experiences
- How Long is the Human Tongue?
- What Causes TOT?
- Key points
What is the tongue?
The tongue is a fleshy, muscular organ in the mouth. A moist, pink oral mucosa covers it. The surface of the tongue looks rough due to the presence of papillae. (1) The particular arrangements of fibers in the tongue allow it to move freely in the mouth. Our tongue mainly helps in mastication and swallowing. It is the primary organ of taste in the gustatory and digestive system. Typically, a human tongue measures around 3.3 meters in men and 3.1 meters in women.
A triangular muscle, which is the shortest and smallest of the three styloid muscles.
Passes forward to the postero-lateral surface of the tongue, blending with the inferior longitudinal and hyoglossus muscles.1
Ascending pharyngeal artery.
It is an important marker for staging squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the lateral oropharynx, with its involvement leading to a higher reclassification of tumours from T1-3 to T4a, ultimately affecting treatment options and surgical approaches for resection.1
Sore on Side of Tongue Causes, White, Yellow, …
2020-8-4 · Biting your tongue during the process of chewing food in the mouth is the common cause of injuries on the side and tip end of the tongue. Biting your tongue can result in a cut or crack on the edges of the tongue that are near the teeth.
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Tip of My Tongue Finds the Word Youre Looking For
A thesaurus is a repetitive writer's best friend, but what happens when you're looking for a specific word, the one that starts with a certain letter, or means the same things as that other word?
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Can You Do Anything to Prevent Tip-of-the-Tongue Phenomenon?
Some researchers have found that tip-of-the-tongue states may play an adaptive role in the memory and learning process. Some studies have found that the more time people spend attending to a tip-of-the-tongue experience, the better their learning and memory of that material will be in the future. This suggests that these moments might result in the stronger encoding of the memory, thus making retrieval easier in the future.
However, other researchers have found that spending time trying to recall information that seems to be on the tip of your tongue may actually be problematic. While it may be tempting to spend some time struggling to find the answer, psychologists Karin Humphreys and Amy Beth Warriner suggest that the more time you spend trying to remember a word on the tip of your tongue, the more likely that you'll struggle with the word again in the future.
“You’re spinning your tires in the snow,” Humphreys explained in an interview with ScienCentral News. “You’re digging yourself in deeper.”
Humphreys' own interest in the topic came from personal experience struggling to remember certain words that seemed to continually pose a challenge.
"This can be incredibly frustrating—you know you know the word, but you just can't quite get it," she explained to McMaster Daily News. "And once you have it, it is such a relief that you can't imagine ever forgetting it again. But then you do. So we began thinking about the mechanisms that might underlie this phenomenon."
The researchers found that after people enter a tip-of-the-tongue state once, it actually becomes more likely for it to happen again the next time they try to remember that word. Rather than learning the correct word, it seems people actually learn to go into the incorrect state when they try to retrieve the word again.
In the study, researchers showed 30 participants questions that they knew, didn't know, or had the answers at the tip of their tongues. For those tip-of-the-tongue answers, participants were then randomly assigned to groups that had either 10 or 30 seconds to come up with a response. The procedure was then repeated two days later.
The longer participants spend in that tip-of-the-tongue state, the more likely they were to have the same experience the next time they encountered that word. "The extra time that people spend trying to dredge up the word is what the researchers describe as "incorrect practice" time. Instead of learning the correct word, people are learning the mistake itself," suggests Humphreys.
In a 2015 study published in the journal Cognition, D'Angelo and Humphreys found that this recurrence of the tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon is possibly a result of implicit learning, which involves the learning of complex information in incidental ways without any awareness that it has been learned.
Human Tongue Diseases:
The organ of taste is susceptible to various tongue conditions, including the infection, pain, swelling, and tongue sores.
Severe tongue diseases include cancer, ulcer, tongue blisters, and hemangioma.
Different tongue problems are likely to cause changes in taste.
Also, there may occur changes in color and texture.
Sometimes, the variations in the color and texture are also indicative of different diseases in other parts of the human body.
Tongue cancer is the most serious disorder that mostly affects people over 40.
The cancer forms in the squamous cells in the front two-thirds of your tongue (the oral tongue).
Covering the surface of your tongue, the squamous cells are thin, flat cells.
If malignancy appears in the back of your tongue (the base), it would be a kind of neck or head cancer.
Tongue biopsy helps diagnose the type and stage of the tumor.
Fig. 9: Tongue CancerSymptoms:
- Pain in the tongue or jaw that won’t go away.
- Tongue white patch/es, occasionally spreading to gums, tonsils, and lining of the mouth.
- Chewing and swallowing food may cause pain.
- Persistent mouth and tongue numbness.
- Bleeding from your tongue due to unexplained reasons.
- Sore throat and development of lump inside the mouth cavity.
Tongue cancer is a type of mouth or oropharyngeal cancer.
The exact causes of most head, neck, and mouth cancer are not known.
However, medical researchers have listed some risk factors for tongue cancer.
These risk factors include consumption of alcohol, smoking tobacco, and transmission of HPV virus through sexual contact.Treatment:
It will be easy to control and cure cancer if you detect and diagnose it in the early stages of development.
The suggestion of an effective treatment method for tongue cancer usually depends on its size.
Its spread to other parts of mouth like lymph nodes, tonsils, and gums is also considered.
Surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy are advanced treatments for tongue cancer.
Meanwhile, the tongue cancer treatment plan may also include target drug therapy.
This therapy aims to stop the cell growth of targeted cancerous cells.
Sometimes, targeted drug therapy is used in combination with radiation or chemotherapy or both.
The breakage or erosion of the surface of the tongue leads to the development of tongue ulcers.
The open tongue sores, associated with tongue ulcers, can appear in other parts of the mouth as well.
On the other hand, holes or breaks in the protective lining of the small intestine are called peptic ulcers.
Fortunately, the tongue ulcers are not that much harmful.
Nevertheless, they are still unpleasant at best and you need to take care of them.Symptoms:
The tongue ulcer symptoms are easily observable with the naked eye.
- The appearance of round or oval sores on the surface of the tongue.
- Sores may also appear on the gums, soft palate, lips, or along the sides of tongue and cheek.
- Experiencing tongue burn or a tingling sensation in the ulcerated area.
- Food, toothbrush, and braces may cause severe pain and irritation.
- A bad or reduced sense of taste.
Several different factors may lead to the appearance of painful tongue sores.
Physical injury, allergies, chemical sensitivity, food sensitivities, and bacterial or viral tongue infection are some of the common causes of mouth and tongue ulcers.
Other tongue ulcer causes include tongue fungus and immune disorders.
Here it is pertinent to note that even minor injuries, such as over-eager brushing, biting your tongue, sporting accidents, and dental works can cause ulcers.Treatment:
It isn’t that difficult to get rid of tongue ulcers.
The condition is rarely a cause for serious concern.
However, if you leave it unaddressed, the ulcers are likely to become more dangerous.
You can cure the disorder using some natural remedies.
For example, you can try using a saltwater or baking soda rinse to keep the would clean.
Secondly, you can make a paste of salt, baking soda, and milk of magnesia to soothe the area.
To ease swelling and inflammation, you can use mouthwash or rinse products that contain steroids.
If the natural remedies for tongue ulcers do not work, you need to consult your healthcare provider for tongue ulcer treatment.
Glossitis of the Tongue:
The benign migratory glossitis or simply the tongue glossitis is a painful condition of the tongue.
It refers to the loss of lingual papilla (depapillation) and smoothening and reddening of the surface of the organ.
Glossitis is a type of the geographic tongue.
In the geographic tongue, the irregular patches on the tongue give it a map-like appearance.
Papillae, the small bumps on the surface of your tongue, contain thousands of tiny sensors or taste buds.
They help you detect the taste of different types of foods you eat.
When the lingual papillae disappear due to glossitis, you experience a bad or reduced taste of the delicious things you eat.
At the same time, you may also face difficulty in speaking, eating and swallowing. 
There are different types of glossitis, including acute, chronic, atrophic, and idiopathic.
In the case of acute glossitis, the inflammation of the tongue appears suddenly with severe symptoms.
Inflammation continues to recur in chronic glossitis which may be the result of some other health condition/s.
When your tongue loses many papillae with the change in its color and texture, you call the condition atrophic glossitis. It turns the organ dark red.
The idiopathic or Hunter’s glossitis, on the other hand, affects the tongue muscles and results in the loss of a significant number of papillae.Symptoms:
The symptoms of this condition include:
- Difficulty eating, speaking, and swallowing food.
- Feeling of tenderness and pain in the tongue.
- Inflammation and change in the color of your tongue.
- Disappearance or loss of lingual papillae.
- Smooth and reddened surface.
- Blocked airway (rare).
The causes of glossitis include allergic reactions to food, chemicals or medicines.
Bacteria, tongue virus or tongue yeast infection, and injury from burns or bad-fitting dentures may lead to depapilllation and redness of tongue.
Alcohol consumption, tobacco, spices, certain vitamin deficiencies, and hormonal factors may also contribute to the onset of the disease.
Meanwhile, the skin conditions that affect the mouth may also cause glossitis.Treatment:
Effective home remedies are available for the tongue glossitis treatment.
You can improve the health of your tongue, teeth, and gums by flossing and brushing your teeth several times a day.
In this way, you can not only relieve the symptoms of the condition but also prevent it from reoccurring.
If the home remedies alone do not work, you can go for a combination of medications and home care.
The medications will help fight bacterial or other infections.
Your doctor may prescribe the use of corticosteroids to reduce the soreness and redness.
A particular pharyngeal arch defect, known as Pierre Robin Syndrome, causes glossoptosis among other symptoms. This particular defect causes the tongue to be displaced posteriorly and may cause airway obstruction or apnea.
Avoiding TOT Experiences
Though these are fairly normal experiences, there are some things which you can do to minimize the occurrence of TOT. Healthy diet and exercise, socialization, and playing games that are related to words such as Scrabble or Pictionary are said to help in improving the ability to recall words from memory, especially in old age.
To quote William James, “If we remembered everything we should on most occasions be as ill off as if we remembered nothing.” So true! It isn’t mandatory that everyone must remember everything at all times. Now that you know all about the tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon, you can be more relaxed the next time it happens to you, since you’ll recall the word right when you’re not trying to remember it. It may take a few hours, or even a few days. Till then, let us reassure you with a familiar saying – what’s in a name, anyway?
How Long is the Human Tongue?
On average, a human tongue is three to four inches long.
Robin Kerrod (1997) in ‘The MacMillan Encyclopedia of Science’ claims that an average length of the human tongue is 10 cm.Did you know?
Human females have a smaller and a lighter tongue.
Its average weight in human males is about 70g and in females 60g.
An obese person is likely to have a fatter tongue.
It may lead to health problems like obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
In this condition, the airways get blocked, so the victim may stop breathing while they’re asleep.
What Causes TOT?
✦ Though TOT is a widely-documented and accepted concept in psychology, the reasons for its occurrence are still unknown. However, explanations and theories have been put forward by experts which try to explain why the tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon occurs. All the theories point to weakness of the memory in relation to the target word or phrase.
✦ The blocking hypothesis theory opines that incorrect and similar-sounding words inhabit the mind, thus blocking the memory of the target word. This incorrect word or phrase, also called a blocker, obstructs the retrieval of the target word, thus causing a TOT.
✦ The incomplete activation hypothesis claims that a TOT experience may be caused because the target word or phrase is not completely activated in memory, which causes difficulty in retrieving it. The memory is aware of the presence of the target word, and the ability to retrieve it might depend upon the cues that surround the word, as cues decide the activation level of the target.
✦ The transmission deficit view states that a TOT may be triggered due to a deficit in the connection between the semantic information and phonological information (which are situated in two separate parts of the memory), that is, the meaning of a word and the sound of a word. This connection is required for recalling any target word or phrase.
✦ Another explanation states that if memories are not accessed over a particular period of time, they can fade, thus triggering TOT when one tries to access them after a long time.
✦ Apart from the theories mentioned above, other popular causes of TOT are old age, rare usage of the target word or phrase, epilepsy, brain injuries, etc. However, it does not mean that increased occurrences of TOT is actually a disorder. It is quite common and normal in old age.
- The tongue is a muscular organ of the oral cavity that has an important role in taste, swallowing, speech and can impact upon airway patency.
- It is made up of four paired extrinsic and intrinsic muscles, of which the latter determine tongue position.
- The muscles, neurovasculature and lymphatics of the tongue serve an important role in determining the spread of malignancy and surgical approach to head and neck pathology.
- Damage to the hypoglossal nerve leads to deviation towards the side of the lesion.