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Most people feel pleasure when they eat chocolate and experience some form of rejection when they taste lemon juice. Both feelings are electric signals the brain receives and translates.

It all begins when some kind of food substance enters the mouth. Once there, the food comes into contact with the tongue, and the taste buds are immediately stimulated, nerve cells are activated and the impulse advances on towards the brain through the cranial nerves. Then, a brain response is produced.

In order for this entire process to take place we need the participation of a series of organs; structures and substances that will ease the perception of flavors.

Inside the buccal cavity (mouth) is the tongue, the main taste organ. It contains salivary glands, the uvula, the palate and the palatine and lingual tonsils. They all have an active participation in the sense of taste.

Osteomuscular structure

The tongue is not only a muscle, its osteofibrous skeleton forms an aponeurotic layer (a membrane of conjunctive tissue that is bound to bone) that goes from the hyoid bone to the tip of the tongue. All of the muscles that grant the tongue movement and flexibility are bound to this skeleton and they enable movement in three directions: from front to back, from the edge towards the middle and up and down.

The structure of the tongue consists of tissue with many interlaced striated muscles, the fibers of which -located on the right and left side- act independently.

The muscles found on the inside (intrinsic muscle) perform delicate movements and the ones on the outside (extrinsic muscle) jut out from structures likes the jaw, the hyoid bone, the palate and the cranium.

There are four intrinsic muscles: the vertical lingual muscle, the inferior and superior longitudinal muscles and the transverse lingual muscle. The extrinsic muscles are the hyoglossus, the styloglossus, the genioglossus and palatoglossus.

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