a muscular organ on the floor of the mouth; it aids in chewing, swallowing, and speech, and is the location of organs of taste
. The taste buds are located in the papillae, which are projections on the upper surface of the tongue. The condition of the tongue can sometimes be a guide to the general condition of the body. glossitis
(inflammation of the tongue) can accompany anemia, scarlet fever, nutritional deficiencies, and most general infections. Sometimes it is part of an adverse reaction to medication. One form of glossitis causes a smooth tongue, with a red, glazed appearance. A coated or furry tongue may be present in a variety of illnesses, but does not necessarily indicate illness. A dry tongue sometimes indicates insufficiency of fluids in the body, or it may result from fever. When the tongue is extremely dry and has a leathery appearance, the cause may be uremia.
The tongue, showing principal structures. From Dorland's, 2000.
bifid tongue a tongue with a lengthwise cleft.
coated tongue one covered with a white or yellow layer of desquamated epithelium, debris, bacteria, fungi, or other material.
fissured tongue (furrowed tongue) a tongue with numerous furrows or grooves on the dorsal surface, often radiating from a groove on the midline.
geographic tongue a tongue with denuded patches, surrounded by thickened epithelium.
hairy tongue a benign condition of the tongue characterized by hypertrophy of the filiform papillae that gives the dorsum of the tongue a furry appearance. The color of the elongated papillae varies from yellowish white to brown or black, depending upon staining by substances such as tobacco, foods, or drugs.
raspberry tongue a diffusely reddened and swollen, uncoated tongue, as seen several days after the onset of the rash in scarlet fever.
strawberry tongue, white the white-coated tongue with prominent red papillae characteristic of the early stage of scarlet fever; the coating desquamates, leaving a beefy red (raspberry) tongue.
SURFACE OF TONGUE
A freely movable muscular organ that lies partly in the floor of the mouth and partly in the pharynx. It is the organ of taste and contributes also to chewing, swallowing, and speech. Synonym: lingua
The tongue consists of a body and root and is attached by muscles to the hyoid bone below, the mandible in front, the styloid process behind, and the palate above, and by mucous membrane to the floor of the mouth, the lateral walls of the pharynx, and the epiglottis. A median fold (frenulum linguae) connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth. The surface of the tongue bears numerous papillae of three types: filiform, fungiform, and circumvallate (or vallate). Taste buds are present on the surfaces of many of the papillae, esp. the vallate papillae. Mucous and serous glands (lingual glands) are present; their ducts open on the surface. The lingual tonsils are lymphatic tissue on the base of the tongue. A median fibrous septum extends the entire length of the tongue.
Arteries: The lingual, exterior maxillary, and ascending pharyngeal arteries supply blood to the tongue. Muscles: Extrinsic muscles include genioglossus, hypoglossus, and styloglossus; intrinsic muscles consist of four groups: superior, inferior, transverse, and vertical lingualis muscles. The hypoglossal nerves are motor to the tongue; the facial and glossopharyngeal nerves are sensory for taste. Nerves: Lingual nerve (containing fibers from trigeminal and facial nerves), glossopharyngeal, vagus, and hypoglossal.
A tongue with a cleft at its anterior end. Synonym: cleft tongue; forked tongue
black hairy tongue
Elongation and discoloration (brown, black or white) of the filiform papillae found on the dorsal, middle to posterior third of the tongue. It is associated with alcohol, smoking, toothpaste and mouthwash containing hydrogen peroxide, and liquid aniacids.
burning tongueBurning mouth syndrome.
cleft tongueBifid tongue.
A tongue covered with a layer of whitish or yellowish material consisting of desquamated epithelium, bacteria, or food debris. The significance of this is difficult to interpret. It may mean only that the patient slept with the mouth open or has not eaten because of loss of appetite. If darkly coated, it may indicate a fungus infection.
A tongue that is dry and shriveled, usually indicative of dehydration. It may also be the result of mouth breathing.
A tongue possessing a prominent central furrow and lateral branches.
A tongue possessing symmetrical whitish patches.
fissured tongueScrotal tongue.
forked tongueBifid tongue.
A coated tongue on which the surface epithelium appears as a coat of white fur. It is seen in nearly all fevers. Unilateral furring may result from disturbed innervation, as in conditions affecting the second and third branches of the fifth nerve. It has been noted in neuralgia of those branches and in fractures of the skull involving the foramen rotundum. Yellow fur indicates jaundice.
A tongue with white raised areas, normal epithelium, and atrophic regions. This condition is also known as benign migratory glossitis. See: illustration
A tongue covered with hairlike papillae entangled with threads produced by the fungi Aspergillus niger
or Candida albicans
. This condition is usually seen as the result of antibiotic therapy that inhibits growth of bacteria normally present in the mouth, permitting overgrowth of fungi. Synonym: glossotrichia
; lingua nigra
A physical finding in patients with riboflavin deficiency.
A dry shriveled tongue seen in typhus.
raspberry tongueStrawberry tongue.
Sandwith bald tongue See: Sandwith bald tongue
A furrowed and rugated tongue, resembling the skin of the scrotum. Synonym: fissured tongue
A tongue with atrophic papillae. It is characteristic of many conditions, such as anemia and malnutrition.
A cleft or bifid tongue resulting from developmental arrest.
A tongue that first has a white coat except at the tip and along the edges, with enlarged papillae standing out distinctly against the white surface. Later the white coat disappears, leaving a bright red surface. This is characteristic of scarlet fever. Synonym: raspberry tongue
A tongue in which the anterior end is divided into three parts.
The rapid involuntary movement of the tongue in and out.