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Head and Neck Anatomy: Part II – Musculature

Course Number: 597

Muscles of the Tongue

The tongue itself is a very mobile muscle surrounded by soft tissue. As everyone knows this is important to both speech and swallowing but as important it is also involved in keeping food on the teeth so it can be chewed properly. We divide this group of muscles into two categories: ones that are encased only in the tongue itself which we term the intrinsic muscles and ones that extend to other structures outside the tongue itself termed the extrinsic muscles. It is also important to remember that the tongue is anchored to the hyoid bone which in turn is connected to muscles that move it and therefore affect the tongue position. All of the muscles of the tongue mentioned below are innervated by branches the hypoglossal nerve (cranial nerve XII). The palatoglossus muscle which we covered with the palatal muscles is an exception being innervated by branches of cranial nerve IX but will not be covered again.