Things You Didn't Know About Your Mouth

Kissing, tasting and speaking-but your mouth is so much more than that!

Things You Didn't Know About Your Mouth

The eyes might be the windows to your soul, but your mouth is the centerpiece of your face. Out of your mouth come words of wisdom, laughter and other assorted noises. Some like to decorate their mouths with various lip colors or glosses, some have an attachment to Chapstick or other lip balms. Whatever the case may be, your mouth is very important for so many reasons. Without teeth, how would we chew gum? Without a voice, how would we express our opinions? Without our lips, how would we experience the magic of a first kiss? And we won't even go into the many interesting uses for our tongues...Though, did you know that when you do kiss someone for about 10 seconds, over 80 million bacteria are transferred? If you are kissing the same person, over time, your bodies become used to each other's bacteria..which might be the healthiest reason to practice monogamy!

And did you ever wonder why you have saliva? No, it isn't for spitting on people, though some little kids might think that is the reason. Saliva is the reason why you can taste-it contains compounds that break down your food so your taste buds can work properly.

Here are some interesting facts about your mouth that you will be happy to know.

Smiling is Good For You

Dale Carnegie once said, "The expression one wears on one's face is far more important that the clothes one wears on one's back." He was referring to the smile. Just like giggling and yawning, smiling is contagious. And wouldn't you know it, smiling is good for you, it causes less wrinkles than frowning. It helps release endorphins, which put you in a better mood and relieve stress; It uses all of the muscles in your face, which could be considered a type of exercise. And just like a good night's sleep, smiling is good for your over-all well being. It has even been proven to help boost your immune system.

Men's Tongues are Longer than Womens

Yes, it's true, size does matter. For some reason, men have longer tongues than women, but women have more taste buds than man...who knew? The longest man's tongue on record is 3.97 inches, while the longest woman's tongue measured in at 2.76 inches. This physiological informative tidbit really has no overall bearing on anything, but it is a fun fact for cocktail parties. Also noteworthy, each person has their own unique tongue-print.

Your Mouth is the Window to your Health

Good oral health is crucial for your overall health. There are millions of bacteria in your mouth and you want to keep those little guys from causing damage. Brushing and flossing your teeth aren't only important for keeping your teeth in good shape, but they keep the germs in check. Even the color of your tongue can be indicative that something is going on. A yellowish tinge can be the sign of fever or stomach issues; a whitish tinge can be the sign of a fungal infection.

Endocarditis, which is an infection of the lining of the heart, can sometimes stem from bacteria that has gotten into your bloodstream via your mouth. Research has also shown that strokes, clogged arteries and other cardiovascular issues might be linked to infections that oral bacteria can cause. According to the Mayo Clinic, periodontitis aka gum disease, has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight. Unhealthy teeth and gums can be the sign of poor circulation and gums that incessantly bleed can mean a more serious illness like leukemia.

It is important to go to the dentist so they can make sure everything looks the way it should and nothing is amiss.

Wisdom Teeth don't make you Wise

Did you ever wonder why those four pesky molars all the way in the back of your mouth are referred to as "wisdom teeth"? If you don't have those molars, does that mean you aren't wise? What about if you need to have those teeth pulled..does that mean if you were smart before, you will no longer be as smart? Have no fear-these teeth are only know as "wisdom teeth" because they are the last to grow in. So by the time those suckers come in, someone was assuming that folks were as wise as they were going to get.

Braces are helpful at any age

Braces are a rite-of-passage for pre-pubescents all across the country. Yearbook pictures of acne-riddled elementary schoolers with silver squares enhancing their grins are as american as apple pie and taxes. Why do we need braces? Good question. Braces are to help with crooked teeth, overcrowding of your teeth; they help close gaps in your teeth. Have an overbite? An underbite? incorrect jaw positioning? Braces help with all of these afflictions.

After you have your braces removed, you are supposed to wear your retainers. These help keep your teeth straight. Unfortunately, most kids don't like their retainers. Or lose their retainers. Teeth shift, bites change and you are almost back to where you were before you had braces. Money well spent.

Adult braces are making a come back. They have even come out with Invisalign,which are clear braces for the highly narcissistic folks who want to improve their smiles, without anyone knowing about it. Though some orthodontists say that if you are going to get braces as an adult, whether it be to help with jaw issues or just to straighten out your smile, there is nothing like the good old fashioned metal kind. Not the most aesthetically appealing, they are the most effective. Just make sure to always have a mirror handy for after you eat-you need to check your smile for any unwanted food particles that might be hanging around in the brackets. Nobody wants to see what you had for lunch....

What's a Uvula?

When you open your mouth wide, you see that red, funny shaped thing hanging all the way in the back. That is your uvula. Unique to humans, it is known to help with one's speech. It secretes lots and lots of saliva to help lubricate your mouth for all the complicated sounds one makes when you are speaking or singing.

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Banji Ganchrow

Self-proclaimed writer, masters in social work. Has driven 3 sons to 22 baseball stadiums. Hopes, because of this, they will never put her in a nursing home.

See all posts by Banji Ganchrow