Our mouths play a vital role in everyday living, enabling us to speak, eat, and express ourselves. While most of us are familiar with the essential functions of the mouth, numerous fascinating and lesser-known facts make this small part of our anatomy genuinely remarkable. Let’s jump in and explore mouth facts that will surprise and intrigue you.
- Saliva production
Saliva is a clear biofluid produced and secreted by the mouth’s salivary glands and is constantly present in the mouth. It’s an essential part of a healthy body that aids digestion by breaking down food particles and regularly flushes the oral cavity to help keep the mouth clean. But how much saliva are we talking about?
On a typical day, the average person produces between 0.5 and 1.5 litres of fluid, which, if you take a low average of 0.7 litres per day, equates to around 255.5 litres of saliva a year. Now imagine if you lived for 80 years; that figure becomes 20,440 litres of spit – enough to fill a small swimming pool. Yuk!
- Good and bad bacteria
Although you can’t see them, your mouth houses colonies of microbes like fungi and bacteria. It’s difficult to determine the exact number of bacteria at any given time, but some estimates are as high as 20 billion. Yes, really!
Over 700 bacterial species inhabit a healthy mouth although this varies from person to person. They make their home in diverse locations, including the hard and soft palates, the tongue, teeth, and even areas around the tonsils.
While ‘good’ bacteria help the mouth to manage the growth of ‘harmful’ microbes, the bad guys, come into play when the balance is disrupted. When harmful bacteria are allowed to reproduce and colonise, they can cause a whole host of oral problems such as tooth decay and gum disease.
Fortunately, with good oral care at home and a healthy diet, these habits will help remove plaque from the teeth (a vital food source for harmful bacteria), thus slowing down their reproduction in your mouth.
- The toothpaste conundrum
Another of the interesting mouth facts we’ve uncovered is that the UK’s landfills are being squeezed each year by 300 million toothpaste tubes. If laid end to end, it’s estimated the line of tubes would stretch 75,000 kilometres – that’s almost enough to travel twice around the world. While toothpaste is an essential hygiene product, a single tube needs nearly 500 years to fully biodegrade. It’s hardly surprising that zero-waste toothpaste brands are growing in popularity.
- Unique tongue print
Just like fingerprints, every one of us has a unique tongue print. Its colour, shape and surface features are characteristic of each individual, even between identical twins. One of the most fascinating mouth facts is the growing momentum of the tongue print for biometric authentication. Because the tongue is an internal organ, it’s easily exposed to reveal all the required information on its surface and has numerous advantages over other biometric systems like voice check, fingerprint and retinal scan. Why? Because it cannot be mimicked or applied without the individual being conscious or giving consent.
- Taste bud map myth
Returning to your youth, perhaps you recall the school diagram of the tongue neatly divided into various zones for different taste receptors – sweet at the front, bitter at the back, salty at the sides near the back, and sour at the sides near the front. It turns out we were misled based on an incorrect reading of an illustration of the tongue.
Today we know that all areas of the tongue can sense sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami (savoury). However, the sides of the tongue are more sensitive than the middle area across all tastes – with one exception. The back of the tongue is more sensitive to bitter tastes, and there is good reason for this.
Heightened sensitivity is considered a protective measure enabling us to spit out poisonous or tainted food or substances before they enter the throat and are swallowed.
- Smiling and laughing
Don’t be surprised if your doctor recommends you squeeze in thirty minutes of smiling daily. As daft as it sounds, smiling and laughing has several health benefits, including:
- Loweing stress levels
- Improving mood
- Strengthening immune system
- Increasing positivity, and even,
- Reducing pain
So, what are you waiting for? Put on your happy face and spread some joy!
- Mirror of your health
You may have read that the ‘mouth is the mirror to the body’, but what does that mean?
Simply put, your oral health and overall health are interlinked. Reports suggest that symptoms that appear in your gums, lips, tongue, throat and jaw are often signs of underlying conditions like diabetes, oral cancer, substance use disorders, and heart disease. They can also warn of vitamin deficiencies and autoimmune diseases.
Let’s wrap up our journey of interesting mouth facts with a big smile. We’ve uncovered a series of fascinating nuggets of information that remind us just how remarkable our mouths are. Whether it’s munching our favourite foods, laughing till our sides split, or relishing the taste of something sweet, our mouths play a vital role in our daily lives.Remember to keep your pearly whites healthy and your lips poised to smile. To stay on top of your oral health, why not schedule a check-up with the friendly dentists at Foxbury Dental. Please call 01858 455 100 or use our online booking service.