The Taste of Design

From Issue: Discovery 12/1/2006

What happens when you stand in front of a mirror and stick out your tongue to say, “Ahhh”? You see your tongue, right? Have you ever wondered just how important your tongue is? Try talking without using your tongue. Ever tried swallowing without your tongue? What about tasting? When you think about it, your tongue is one of the most important parts of your body.

Your tongue is made up of several groups of muscles. These muscles help you make sounds like the sound of the letters “L” and “R.” Without the flexible muscles in your tongue, you would not be able to talk or sing.

Look closely at your tongue and you will see many raised dots. These dots are called papillae (PUH-pi-luh). Some people think those dots are taste buds, but they aren’t. Your taste buds are actually small groups of cells on the papillae that you cannot see. Your tongue has about 10,000 taste buds. Each taste bud is a group of 50-100 taste cells. The taste cells in each bud don’t live very long. They only live about two weeks and then new taste cells replace them. What do the taste buds do? They help you taste things, of course. But taste is more important than some people realize.

If you could not taste things that are bitter, sour, salty, or sweet, you might accidentally drink sour milk, eat bitter poison, or take in too much salt. If you did drink sour milk, you likely would become very sick. Bitter poison might kill you. And eating too much salt could cause your body to dehydrate (run out of water). God designed your tongue so that you can enjoy a candy bar, but also be able to protect your body from eating harmful things.

Besides helping you talk and taste, God designed your tongue to help your body fight germs. On the back of your tongue, special germ-fighting tissue protects your body from infection and disease. Also, when people get sick, doctors can sometimes tell what kind of sicknesses they have just by looking at their tongues.

Your tongue is a magnificent organ. God specifically designed it to do many unique and important jobs. We should use our tongues to praise God for giving us such well-designed bodies. 


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