The mouth is a fascinating part of the body and people are still making new discoveries about it every day. Talking, kissing, eating, drinking, smiling… the mouth is a crucial part of our everyday lives. Here are five interesting facts about the mouth that you may not have known.
- The tongue is unique, strong, and sensitive.
It only takes accidentally biting your tongue once to know just how sensitive this muscle is, but the tongue is also thought to be one of the strongest muscles in the body. It can be put to work all day long, helping you talk, chew, taste, and swallow, and never get tired. In addition, just like a fingerprint, each tongue is totally unique. It’s easy to neglect the tongue when practicing oral health, but brushing your tongue after you brush your teeth will help remove bacteria and freshen your breath.
- Enamel is the strongest substance in the body.
Tooth enamel is the hard outer layer of your teeth and is incredibly important in protecting your teeth from harmful germs and bacteria. Although it’s the hardest substance in the body, enamel can begin to wear down, which leaves your teeth unprotected and vulnerable to decay. Enamel wears down from acids in the mouth, so in addition to practicing good oral hygiene, a great way to protect the enamel on your teeth is by avoiding certain acidic foods and drinks that are more likely to produce plaque, such as sugary sodas, sticky candy, and sweet alcoholic beverages.
- Toothbrushes were first invented by ancient Babylonians and Egyptians in 3500-3000 BC.
While we don’t know much about oral health in ancient history, because Egyptians preserved most of their items in tombs, historians believe the Babylonians and Egyptians used “chew sticks, which were thin twigs with frayed ends. Historians think that the people would rub the twigs over their teeth to get them clean.
- There are over 700 species of bacteria in your mouth.
Believe it or not, much of the bacteria that live in your mouth are good for your oral health, aiding in fighting off cavities and digesting food. But other bacteria are not good for your teeth, and if not removed each day, they will create cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. Fortunately, these bad bacteria can be removed by brushing twice a day for two minutes each time, flossing daily, and visiting your dentist twice a year for a professional cleaning and checkup. Rinsing with mouthwash can also help get rid of unhealthy germs and bacteria.
- Up to 75% of Americans fear the dentist.
While approximately 10% of Americans have an official diagnosis of dentophobia (fear of the dentist), it is estimated that about 75% of Americans have some sort of anxiety or nervousness when going to the dentist. Unfortunately, dental anxiety can cause people to miss their regular cleanings or avoid getting a toothache checked on. This, of course, only increases risks of problems in the mouth, which then in turn causes even more anxiety. If you are experiencing some form of dental anxiety, don’t avoid going to the dentist, but instead talk to your dentist about it. There are some practical steps you can take to help with the anxiety, such as deep breathing exercises, wearing ear buds during the procedure, and using nitrous oxide (also known as laughing gas).
One thing is certain: the mouth is an incredibly unique and important part of the body, and that is why it is crucial we take care of it. In addition to practicing good oral hygiene at home like brushing and flossing, visiting your dentist twice a year is essential. We would love to give you the healthy mouth you deserve, so please make an appointment with us at Cornerstone Family Dentistry today!