5 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Mouth

Your mouth. You probably take it for granted. All that chewing and talking and expressing are just part of your everyday, but your mouth is actually an incredibly complex environment. Here are five things you probably did not know about the wonders of your mouth. Read up and you can use these interesting facts at your next dinner party.

1. Your mouth is sterile when you are born.

When a baby is born their mouths do not contain any bacteria. Babies end up getting bacteria in their mouths through transfers like loved ones kissing them, checking the temperature of their food, or kids sharing toys that they put in their mouth. You can help avoid or minimize the transfer of bad bacteria by staying current on your hygiene visits and taking good care of your teeth at home.

2. Your tongue contains 4 types of “bumps”.

The bumps on your tongue contain hundreds of taste buds. These taste buds allow us to taste five different distinct flavors: sour, sweet, salty, bitter and umami.
Tongue Anatomy

  • Circumvallate papillae: Located at the back of your tongue in a “V” shape, these bumps are fewest in number, largest in size and vary in number between eight and 12.
  • Fungiform papillae: Often said to look like a small mushroom (hence their name) these papillae are scattered throughout your tongue intermixed between the filiform papillae. They can sense all five tastes.
  • Filiform papillae: The most numerous of all your papillae, they are located throughout your tongue giving it texture. They are responsible for the sensation of touch; however, they do not contain taste buds.
  • Foliate papillae: Located on the sides of your tongue and near the back, these papillae are responsible for much of your taste.

3.Your tooth nerves shrink with age.

When our adult teeth erupt, the nerves are very large. As we age, we build up secondary dentin, decreasing the space for our nerves. Often the younger we are the more sensitivity we may experience in our teeth. As we age, sensitivity can tend to decrease pending we do not develop increased recession or decay.

4. Your tonsils can collect “stones”.

Tonsils have small channels, nooks, and crannies called crypts. Some people collect food debris, plaque and bacteria in these crypts that can calcify. These stones, also known as tonsilliths, can be painful if they do not get dislodged on their own. They are also a common culprit for the cause of bad breath (halitosis). If they are ever bothersome, your dentist can most likely remove them for you.

5. Your teeth are in constant motion.

Teeth have three functions, mastication (chewing), phonetics (speaking), and esthetics (looks). If your teeth can not touch each other, they will continue to erupt until they can. You may notice that your teeth become more crowded as you age. Teeth, through wear patterns and habits, tend to migrate forward most often. If you ever had braces but did not wear, or stopped wearing, your retainers, you may notice your teeth are not as straight as they once were. Even with diligent retainer use, your teeth will still move slightly.