In Plain Sight: Taste Buds

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The tongue-- sorry, the tongue, a one-word name for an incredible group of muscles. It's also my favorite body part.

I don't have to exercise it, massage it, or worry that it'll look flabby at the beach. But the tongue's awesomeness doesn't stop there.

Ah. Look at that beauty in all its wondrous, wet pinkness. Now, let's really get in there. Check out all those bumps.

Most people think those are our taste buds, but they're actually the papillae, which help grip your food.

In the tips of those papillae are where our 10,000 taste buds live. And each taste bud contains tiny little hairs called microvilli.

When food touches them, they send messages to the brain about how something tastes. You know, like sweet, salty, sour, or bitter.

Taste buds aren't just about providing pleasurable sensations. They also serve as a warning system telling us food has spoiled so we don't swallow it.

And for those people out there who fear swallowing their tongue, you know who you are.

You see that thing under your tongue? It's a lovely band of tissue called the frenulum, and it anchors the tongue to your mouth.

So even if you're Gene Simmons, it's impossible to swallow your tongue.

Now, I was a little freaked to learn that my tongue is covered with tiny hairs, but I guess it's OK if I can enjoy cake, pudding, and really expensive tequila. That was good, right?

It was all right.

You know what, I need chocolate pudding and tequila stat. [MUSIC PLAYING]