• Question: why dont we swallow are tounge????????????????

    Asked by glencoco to Enda, Jean, Tim on 22 Nov 2012.
    • Photo: Jean Bourke

      Jean Bourke answered on 22 Nov 2012:

      You cannot swallow your tongue (yay). It’s very solidly attached at its base and attached to the bottom of your mouth.

      If the muscle goes completely limp and you are unconscious it can fall back into your throat and you can choke if it blocks your airway. This can happen during a fit but you don’t breathe anyway but afterwards it can be a problem. You’re more likely to choke on your saliva or vomit though.

      In conclusion you’d have to chop it off to swallow it!

    • Photo: Enda O'Connell

      Enda O'Connell answered on 22 Nov 2012:

      Hi Glencoco,

      We don’t swallow our tongue because it is attached to the floor of our mouth by a flap of skin called the frenulum. The frenulum is that little flap of skin on the bottom of your tongue that runs down to the floor of your mouth. Some babies are born with a short frenulum and may have some difficulty feeding. This is called “tongue-tie” and can be fixed very easily by making a little incision in the frenulum to release the tongue.

      There was an Old Wives’ Tale that people having seizures could swallow their tongue so it was advised to put something in their mouths to stop this happening. But all that happened usually was that the “good Samaritan” cut the mouth of the person having the seizure or damaged their teeth, so this is not advised any more.