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Fun Facts for Kids – Wow Your Patients with These 3 Interesting Facts about This Weird Appendage

February 1st, 2017
a colorful chameleon

The tongue. Not a common conversation topic, yet such a critical part of human and animal survival. Without it, we can’t talk, eat or drink. Those are pretty important functions and in the animal world the tongue plays an even bigger role and has some pretty funky adaptations. Here are 3 weird facts that you can share with your young patients to get them interested in anatomy.

1. Most people are familiar with the chameleon; it has the longest tongue in the world in relation to its body. But did you know it has a sticky, mucus tip on its tongue that can lasso around any prey pulling the victim back in at lightning speed?

a long chameleon tongue catching a caterpillar

Hmmm, you know, we’re pretty sure we’ve seen this same technique used by moviegoers on their freshly popped popcorn. Who needs hands when you have a tongue!

 

2. Cats, giraffes, anteaters, and snakes all have tongue adaptations that enable them to groom, strip thorny bushes, dip into ant mounds, and even smell!

 

3. Nothing is as crazy as the tongue-eating isopod! It’s a critter, well a parasite actually, that targets fish by infiltrating its gills and latching onto its tongue. It not only proceeds to consume the poor fish’s tongue, but it will replace it with its own body, providing the fish with a new fully-functioning tongue it uses, albeit begrudgingly, to grind food against tiny teeth on the roof of its mouth.

an ispod tongue parasite in a fish mouth

Yikes! Maybe the phrase should be “Isopod got your tongue?” No thanks; we think we’d rather have the cat any day!

 

Humor has great uses when it comes to putting patients at ease. Using Humor with Your Patients by  states,

“Studies show that laughter brings physical benefits and releases endorphins. It also boosts the immune system, improves stamina, and can strengthen breathing. And, of course, there are emotional and social benefits too—like reducing depression or anxiety and helping us feel close with friends and family.”

So put your patients at ease and help them build a trusting relationship by injecting humor into your interactions with them during their appointments. You’ll set them up with a positive attitude toward their dental hygiene that can last their whole lives.

 

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