10 Things That Live Inside Your Mouth
For many of us, the only time you really think about what’s inside your mouth is when you’re standing in the buffet line, salivating as you pray nobody takes all the macaroni before we get there. Or occasionally early in the morning, when you need to quickly rectify whatever’s inside your mouth making that smell float outside…
But there’s way more stuff going on in there than you might think. Some of it’s gross, some of it’s cool, but you won’t know what any of it is until you dive in. Let’s take a look at what’s living inside your mouth:
Of course, you knew that you have a tongue, but did you know that your tongue is actually an organ and is made up of eight different muscles? For some of us, that might mean we can do a mean party trick and fold our tongue in half, make it roll up like a cannoli, or twist it like a corkscrew. (You’re all trying one of these right now, aren’t you?)
The muscles in our tongue facilitate swallowing and move our food around the mouth so it’s chewed thoroughly and can be sent along to our stomachs for further digestion. It’s also very effective when you’re 3 (or 33) to stick out all eight of those muscles to demonstrate when you’re unhappy, annoyed or displeased with something.
Have any of you watched the video compilation of people giving lemons to babies? Depending on your sense of humor, this can bring you immense joy, or alternately, disappointment in the human race that people actually find such things funny.
Different foods can evoke different reactions, not only within us ourselves, but from person to person as well. This is all because of our tastebuds: wee little individual organs which are hardwired to our brain and let us know if something is salty, sweet, sour, or bitter. Tastebuds have very sensitive, microscopic hairs extending from them (called microvilli) which react with the chemicals in our foods and transmit the info to our brain via our nerves.
Certain flavor combinations (i.e. salty and sweet) can light up the pleasure centers of our brains like a Christmas tree, sending feel-good chemicals throughout our bodies. And believe it when people say food manufacturers have caught on and will hide salt and/or sugar in what we eat so we can’t get enough of whatever they’re makin’. This is why food labels and ingredient lists are our friends…
Your Teeth… And Some Extra Teeth for Good Measure
This one seems pretty obvious, and most of us know what our teeth are there for. But did you know you could grow extra teeth — and we’re not talking about those pain-in-the-keister wisdom teeth?
It is possible — and actually quite common — to have supernumerary teeth due to a syndrome called hyperdontia, where people grow more than the 32 permanent teeth that they’re supposed to. The extra chompers can appear in the roof of the mouth, on the gums, and even up beside the nose!
A dental extraction is the best way to deal with these suckers, and they can be detected by x-ray to see if any of their friends are still waiting to appear.