What do you see when you look at yourself in the mirror? What did you notice at first? Is it your eyes, or is it your smile? Or is this how much belly you have gained since the last time you stood there?
You must be constantly worried about your extra belly fat. Are you pondering on how to reduce it? Also, have you ever paid attention to your other body parts?
Has the thought of how much does a human tongue weigh ever crossed your mind?
Let’s dive into this exciting yet eerie topic:
Table of Content
Today’s Anatomy Lesson: The Human Tongue
Our mouth comprises the tongue, teeth, and palates. This section of our body is invariably imessentialor speaking, eating, and digestion.
Now putting the limelight on our tongue, let us know some of its basic Anatomy:
The human tongue is a highly muscular organ. It has four papillae or taste buds for distinctive taste recognition in its four quarters. The female human tongue weighs about 60 grams and 70 grams for a male.
These are the same reasons why our tongue has a rough surface. The taste buds are highly innervated with numerous small nerve cells that are connected to the brain. The tongue can detect four tastes: sweet, sour, bitter, and salty.
Clinical Problems Related To Tongue Weight
This might not have struck you, but there can be ways how your tongue is overweight too. Infections, underlying metabolic disorders can increase or decrease your tongue weight.
Below are some common clinical conditions that are wholly or partially associated with more weight of the tongue:
Your tongue can swell up as an allergic reaction to foods or any external factors. It makes the tongue heavy and makes it difficult to accommodate in the mouth cavity.
Causes of tongue swellings
- Tongue cancer
- Down syndrome
- Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome Leukaemia Anaemia
- Overactive thyroid
- Strep throat
A long protruded and heavy tongue that happens to enlarge the tongue muscles is called macroglossia.
It is caused by genetic disorders, vitamin B12 deficiency, allergy, inflammation, malignancy, traumatic disorders, etc. It can progress towards oral cancer.
- Speech impairment
- Difficulty eating
- Airway obstruction
- Abnormal growth of jaw and teeth
An unhealthy and unclean tongue can initiate the development of small ulcerations or tumors in the oral cavity. The papillae of the tongue can swell up and cause disorientation in speaking or eating.
- Smoking tobacco
- Poor oral hygiene
- Drinking alcohol
- Viral infections
- Weak immune system
- Change of color
- Bad breath
- Speaking difficulties
- Pain while speaking, eating, deglutition
- Lumps and bumps
- Swelling or heavy feeling of the tongue
Glossitis or inflammation is a clinical condition where the tongue shows changes in size, color, and surface. It can make you doubt ‘how much does a human tongue weigh.’
- Nutritional deficiency of iron, folate, or Vitamin B12.
- Allergy to food
- Allergy to medication
- Hot intake of food
- Dry mouth
- Acid reflux
- Bacterial, viral, or yeast infection
- The smooth surface of the tongue
- Difficulty speaking, chewing, swallowing
Abnormal and excess protein production results in their accumulation in various parts of the body, like the tongue. This condition is called Primary Amyloids.
- Inflammatory disease
- Side effects of dialysis
- Increased TTR protein
- Swelling of lips, gums, and tongue
- Swelling of legs and hands
- Shortness of breath
- Severe fatigue
- Difficulty swallowing
- Irregular heartbeat
Free T4 is low, and TSH elevated is the confirmatory diagnosis for Congenital Hypothyroidism. This disease affects multiple organs of the body, and the tongue is one of them. It increases the tongue weight and causes Macroglossia.
The answer to ‘how much does a human tongue weigh’ may differ significantly between a hyper and hypothyroid patient.
- Ill-formed thyroid gland
- Genetic defect affecting thyroid hormone production
- Absence of iodine in a mother’s diet during pregnancy
- Radioactive iodine therapy as a treatment of thyroid cancer during pregnancy
- Feeding disabilities
- Excessive sleeping
- Prolonged jaundice
- Weak cry
- Swelling of tongue and lips
Surgery in the mouth cavity or the teeth can sometimes injure the tongue. The damaged portion of the tongue often swells up and fills a heavy. As a result, the patient feels difficult to speak or eat anything.
Accidents can cause nerve damage to the tongue. The tongue loses its sensation and can show symptoms like shrinkage, heaviness, numbness, tastelessness, etc. A few products are available for dealing with such nerve problems.
A fat tongue is an actual thing! Quite sure you haven’t heard of it, but tongue fat is a crucial thing to consider. The human body has numerous spaces in our body for storing fats. Some store it on the waits, arms, buttocks, and some may even get it in their tongue! It can cause dangerous health fatalities like sleep apnea.
- Metabolic disorder
- Genetic disorder
- Down’s syndrome
- Burning sensation
- Change in texture
Ulceration in the mouth cavity can increase the weight of your tongue.
- Cold sore virus
- Foot and mouth disease
- Iron deficiency
- Sore throat
- Mouth pain
- Difficulty in speaking and eating
Common issues affecting the tongue weight
Tongue weight can vary as a side effect to numerous other diseases. There are a few clinical conditions that may make your tongue weigh more or less than usual. Sometimes different problems are associated with it. Some common tongue conditions apart from its surplus gain of weight are:
As a common symptom of Candidiasis, both tongue and mouth issues become common. They tend to increase tongue weight and make you think, ‘how much does a human tongue weigh.’
Happens to chain smokers or alcoholics. Small ulcerations grow steadily. It changes the structure of the tongue. It can increase or decrease the tongue weight accordingly.
Also named problems there, Macroglossia is the abnormal protrusion or growth of the tongue due to any underlying endocrine, genetic or physiological disorder. It makes the tongue look big and heavy.
Ridges of the tongue become prominent and show discoloration in multiple spots.
This happens due to mild nerve problems or loss of sensation due to any external cause or injury.
Overgrowth of the papillae can project to dark-looking patches like the hair on the tongue.
Happens from anemia or vitamin B deficiency. The skin of the tongue loses its roughness and becomes smooth.
Small, painful ulcers on the tongue appear periodically.
White patches on the tongue skin that can not be scraped off.
Herpes virus causing cold sores on the tongue skin.
How Much Does A Human Tongue Weigh, And Ways To Reduce It
One of the primary reasons why you should reduce your tongue’s fat is to avoid sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a potentially severe problem where breathing stops and starts repeatedly. The main reason behind sleep apnea is overweight and excessive stress.
Doctors prescribe innumerable ways to reduce your tongue weight like:
Overall weight loss
Obesity is a curse. In recent times, it is the root of all problems. Be it diabetes, hypertension, or respiratory diseases; overweight people are always at risk.
The same goes for people with overly weighing tongues.
The average weight of the tongue is two to three pounds. Fat deposition in the tongue can just be another site where all your body fat is hiding.
Focus on losing the total body fat and then do some free mouth exercises. Supplements are found to initiate this weight loss process. They are advised to be taken to reduce overall body weight.
Follow a facial yoga instructor or do free mouth exercises. Reduce your tongue fat by speaking out the vowels out loud. You can also try and flip your tongue back. Sharply hit your teeth in front with great force.
This will stimulate the muscles of the tongue and help to bring down the unwanted fat.
Tongue reduction surgery
Reduction Glossectomy is suggested to patients having Macroglossia. This alters the speech and swallowing difficulties faced by a person. The patient no longer stutters in speaking or undergoes pain while eating.
Solving the underlying problem
Your tongue can feel heavy for a lot of the significant complications mentioned before. It could be a mere symptom, or it could signify something completely different.
If you are having issues with your thyroid, it is better to solve your hormone complications. If the main problem is your diabetes, fix it. Remove or start taking medicines for tumors or Macroglossia.
Other Interesting facts about the human tongue
- The tongue is a well-structured, vascular, and susceptible muscle.
- It is made up of four muscles called genioglossus, hyoglossus, styloglossus, and palatoglossus.
- It is innervated by hypoglossal, vagus, and the glossopharyngeal nerve.
- On average, it is 3 inches long.
- Your tongue has from 2000 to 4000 taste buds
- The tongue has specific sensations for specific areas, and you will feel accordingly.
- The tongue goes down your throat to the epiglottis (thin flap of muscles), and in front, it is up to the top of the mouth.
- A myth prevails; people with longer tongues are wiser and more brilliant than most of the population.
The Guinness Book has recorded the most extended tongue to be 10.1cm of Nick Stoeberl. The heaviest weight to be lifted by Thomas Blackthorn from the United Kingdom (12.5kg).
Can you grow your tongue back?
No, if you lose your tongue, it is gone forever.
The muscles of the tongue originate from the bones above and below it. By any chance, if it is severed, it will not grow back. You will lose your ability to speak and mix the food you eat.
Minor lacerations, wounds, or cuts will go back to what they were after undergoing proper medications. Watch out never to cause any significant injury to your tongue!
What does an unhealthy tongue look like?
The tongue, for its high vascular supply, looks very pink. A little slice, and it will start bleeding. An unhealthy tongue, however, may lose its pink shade to something more profound or lighter.
Bad breath, yellow teeth, lumps, and swellings are other symptoms that your tongue is not healthy.
The key to a good and healthy tongue is maintaining proper hygiene and keeping it clean. Oral hygiene is inevitably essential.
What does a long tongue signify?
The world is full of myths and religious beliefs. Your right-hand itches; you expect money. But your left itches, you get nothing!
Similarly, a long tongue signifies you are a wise person. You will come up with the solution to all the pre-existing problems. If you are a woman, you are expected to give birth to the best child, who would stand out amongst a million.
Can you grow your tongue bigger?
Yes! That is where Macroglossia walks in. Apart from Macroglossia, the human tongue can grow or enlarge itself for pre-existing physical conditions. Side effects to medicines or foods a person is allergic to can give them a fat tongue.
To address “How much does a human tongue weigh,” we can say it is from 60 to 70 grams in females and males, respectively. If your tongue that weighs more or less than average points out to first-line pathological conditions.
Like every other body part, it is essential to look out for abnormalities in your tongue. It can have pain, feel heavy or swell up according to the condition. Always remember, your body is a temple, and you must worship every part of it!