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Is the Tongue the Strongest Muscle in the Human Body?

Is The Human Tongue Really The Strongest Muscle In The Body?

Growing up, we have all heard about how the human tongue is the strongest muscle in the human body. Many of us have continued to believe this assertion, perhaps awarding the strongest muscle award to an undeserving recipient. Let’s discuss the tongue and debunk this myth once and for all. 

The Anatomy Of The Tongue: Is The Tongue A Muscle?

If you were a staunch proponent of the “tongue is the strongest muscle” myth, you would be surprised to know that the human tongue is not even a muscle in the first place. It is, in fact, a group of eight muscles that control the tongue for specific functions. These eight muscles are divided into intrinsic and extrinsic muscles. 

The intrinsic muscles are four paired muscles: 

1. The superior longitudinal lingual muscle, which shortens the tongue and curls it upward.

2. The inferior longitudinal lingual muscle, which shortens the tongue and curls it downward.

3. The transverse lingual muscle, which elongates and narrows the tongue.

4. The vertical lingual muscle, which flattens the tongue.

Extrinsic muscles include:

1. The genioglossus muscle, which protrudes the tongue through its inferior fibers, depresses the tongue with its middle fibers, and draws the tip back and down through its superior fibers. 

2. The styloglossus muscle, which draws up the sides of the tongue to create a trough for swallowing following adequate mastication. The pair of styloglossus muscles work together on each side to retract the tongue.

3. The hyoglossus muscle, which depresses and retracts the tongue.

4. The palatoglossus muscle, which elevates the posterior tongue and aids in the initiation of swallowing.

What Do We Mean By “Strong”?

When calling a person strong, we could mean physically strong, emotionally strong, or even financially strong. Similarly, while discussing which muscle of the human body is the strongest, it is imperative that we understand what “strong” even means.

Some would consider a muscle to be strong based on how much force it can withstand, while others would suggest the largest muscle in the human body is the strongest. 

Let’s Answer The Question: What Is The Strongest Muscle In The Human Body?

Depending on how you define the term “strong”, you can award quite a few muscles the title of the strongest muscle of the human body:

1. If you believe the strongest muscle should be the one that exerts the most force based on its weight, then this title would go to the masseter muscle. The masseter muscle is a muscle of the jaw consisting of extremely powerful muscle fibers responsible for helping an individual chew.

2. If by strongest, you mean the organ that is constantly working day and night throughout a person’s lifetime, then it would be unfair to award any muscular organ the title of the strongest if it isn’t the heart. 

3. The largest muscle of the human body is actually the muscle we sit on, the gluteus maximus. Due to its large size and responsibility of helping to keep the trunk in an upright position, this muscle also is considered to be the strongest. 

4. Considering how the muscles of the uterus are able to push an entire baby out of the birth canal, it would not be surprising if these muscles, present in the pelvic region, are considered to be the strongest. 

5. If you consider strength in terms of how much force a muscle can pull, then the soleus muscle would win the title of the strongest muscle of the body. 

What about the Tongue?

Muscles that form the tongue are responsible for a wide range of movements and constantly work throughout a person’s lifetime. Although we could not award the tongue the title of the strongest, it is undoubtedly true that the tongue is the most flexible. This muscular organ can perform a plethora of movements, from curling up and flattening down to protruding out of the mouth, without ever getting tired. 

What Happens If You Do Not Keep Your Tongue Clean

The tongue, although not the strongest, is nonetheless an extraordinarily vital and powerful muscular organ of the human body. It is crucial to keep it clean so that its flexibility and strength are preserved throughout one’s lifetime. 

Unfortunately, many people fail to brush their tongues during routine tooth brushing. This allows harmful bacteria to lodge into the tiny crypts present on the tongue, causing an array of disorders ranging from bad breath (also known by its medical term, halitosis, and its more frightening term, dragon’s breath) to hairy tongue (an unpleasant disorder characterized by blackish or brownish discoloration of the tongue). These disorders are not only unsightly but also affect the taste of food during mealtimes. 

How to Keep Your Tongue Clean

There are many ways you can keep your tongue clean and healthy, including:

1. Brushing the tongue: If you are a fan of electric toothbrushes, you would be pleased to know that smart toothbrush can safely and effectively remove the plaque and bacteria present on the surface of your tongue to fight bad breath and other tongue-related ailments. 

2. Using a tongue scrapper: this tool allows you to swipe away resident bacteria, preventing them from colonizing and causing you distress. 

3. Rinsing: After brushing your teeth, thoroughly rinsing your mouth with water flushes away the collections of bacteria and food debris present on the tongue.

 

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The Takeaway 

If you have ever asked yourself, “Is the tongue the strongest muscle in the human body?” you now have your answer. Although not the strongest, the tongue is indeed the most flexible muscular organ, and protecting it through proper cleaning is essential to preserve its function and prevent nasty conditions such as halitosis. Oclean offers a range of sonic electric toothbrushes that help keep the tongue bacteria and plaque-free for a fresher and healthier smile.

*Cover image from Pexels@Karley Saagi, we will delete it if constitutes infringement *

 

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