Ridiculous Mouth Facts to make your Jaw Drop

We use our mouths every day for a myriad of uses: talking, singing, eating, whistling, and drinking. Seems like we should know our mouths pretty well already, right? Maybe, but check out these interesting facts about the loudest part of our bodies:

  • One in eight people snore habitually while sleeping. Snoring is caused when sleepers inhale through their mouths and the air has difficulty entering the nasal passageways. Scientists are researching several potential causes of snoring, including the size of the palate and structure of the sinuses.
  • Cavities are not caused by the amount of sugar we eat. Tooth decay is actually a factor of how long sugar is allowed to reside in our mouths before we brush our teeth, rather than how much sugar we eat. Therefore, someone who eats a great deal of sugar but cleans her teeth immediately after each serving is less likely to develop cavities then someone who only eats a little sugar, but does not clean his teeth until hours afterwards.
  • Sugar-free sodas are still bad for the teeth. While diet soda does not contain sugar, diet soda still has a high level of acids, and acids are in many cases worse for your teeth than sugar. Make sure to clean your teeth after you drink a soda, even if it is sugar-free.
  • Some foods actually help clean the teeth. If brushing your teeth is not possible, eating a piece of raw celery or carrot can do a reasonable job. Both of these vegetables are non-acidic and have a combination of fiber and water that can move plaque from the surface of the teeth (by the way, plaque is the residue of too many bacteria in the mouth).
  • Your mouth is crowded. The human mouth contains the same number of bacteria as the population of the Earth – the good news is that many of these are beneficial bacteria that fight the harmful bacteria. Your mouth is a war zone, just on a microscopic scale. Kissing can transfer an average of 260 different types of bacteria from one mouth to another.
  • Smiling causes your body to make more antibodies, which are the cells that fight infection. Some researchers believe that those struggling with illness should engage in activities that cause them to smile a lot, such as positive thinking, socializing, and watching and reading comedy. In addition, women tend to smile more than men, which may explain why women in many cultures tend to outlive men.
  • Saliva is important – very important. Without saliva, we would not have a sense of taste. Saliva contains enzymes that begin the process of breaking down the foods we eat and getting the food particles to the different taste sensors in the tongue. Saliva also plays important roles in speech, swallowing, and digestion. Over the course of your lifetime, your mouth with produce almost 38,000 gallons of saliva. Saliva does not only come from the gland under the tongue, but also from the submandibular gland (farther back in your mouth) and the parotid gland (behind the sinuses). If your mouth is making enough saliva, you may have a condition called xerostomia, or ‘dry mouth’. Dry mouth occurs most frequently in elderly women. Saliva production can also be affected by medication, depression, smoking, pregnancy and hypertension.
  • Not all tongues are created equal. Men tend to have longer tongues than women, although researchers are not sure if their is an evolutionary reason for this. In addition, women tend to have a greater number of taste buds on their tongues than men do. However, all tongues have a unique pattern of taste buds. If it weren’t for all of those gallons of saliva, a tongue print could be used to identify people.
  • Dentists can gage more than just the health of your mouth. The condition of one’s mouth can signal to your dentist that there may be a larger, systemic condition developing in your body, such as osteoporosis, diabetes, oral cancer, and cardiovascular issues. This means that regular dental checkups are just as important for adults as they are for children.
  • Human lips are unique. Humans are the only species whose lips are a distinctly different color from the rest of the face. Human lips are significantly thinner than the rest of the skin on our bodies. Our lips do not contain sweat glands, and they dry faster than the skin on most other areas of the human body.
  • Our mouths work quickly. It takes the average person 7 seconds to transport food from their mouth to their esophagus. Sneezes leave the mouth and nose at a rate of over 100 miles per hour. Coughs come out a little more slowly, at an average of 60 miles per hour.
  • Oral cancer kills one person every 24 hours, although it is one of the most successfully treatable cancers. The death rate is attributed to late detection. This means that those at risk for oral cancer should see a dentist at least once per year. Those at highest risk for oral cancer are men who both consume alcohol and use smoke tobacco products, or have been treated for HPV-related conditions over the course of their lifetime.
  • Now about those cold sores. Cold sores around the lips and mouth are caused by the HSV-1 or herpes simplex virus, type 1. When sores are present on the face, they are contagious. When there are no sores present on the face, the virus can not be transmitted to anyone else. Researchers at the University of Maryland estimate that 90% of adults have been exposed to HSV-1. HSV-1 is spread through kissing and sharing personal items, such as drinking from the same water bottle. Those who have frequent bouts of cold sores should be extra cautious about sun exposure, and wear sunscreen on the face year-round, since sun exposure seems to encourage cold sore eruptions on the face. Typically cold sores heal on their own within two weeks, and some patients will only have limited outbreaks over the course of their lifetime.