This week at school we’ve been sticking out our tongues…and when you stick out your tongue, you see that it’s covered in lots of little bumps. We like to think of these bumps as our taste buds, but actually, these bumps are known as papillae. Your actual taste buds are much smaller, and anywhere from 3-100 of them can fit inside a single papilla. Some papillae look different than others. This is because there are actually four different types!
Right in the centre of your tongue, there are lots of small, skinny papillae that almost look fur-like. These are called filiform, and they don’t contain any taste buds. On the front and sides of your tongue there are little round dot-like papillae known as fungiform.They usually contain 3-5 taste buds each. The next two types can be hard to see, all the way at the back of your tongue, near your tonsils. You may be able to make out a few ridges on either side of your tongue. Those are called foliate. On the top of your tongue in that same area, you might see some large, round papillae. These are known as circumvallate, and they, along with the foliate type, each contain more than 100 taste buds each!