HOW MUCH DO you know about your mouth? Prepare to know a lot more, because we’re about to share a bunch of strange and fascinating mouth trivia. Let’s get started!
#1: Our sense of taste needs saliva to work!
We have approximately 10,000 taste buds in our mouths, most of which are on our tongues, but they can’t taste anything until molecules from the food we eat dissolve in our spit! Only then can the chemicals be detected by receptors on taste buds.
#2: The bumps on the tongue are called papillae.
You might think that the little bumps on your tongue are your taste buds, but they’re actually structures called papillae. Many taste buds are located on these papillae, along with temperature sensors, but individual taste buds are too small to see. Papillae give our tongues their texture, which is important for eating.
The downside of papillae is that the rough texture they create leaves many tiny gaps for bacteria to grow in, which can impact our sense of taste and give us bad breath if we aren’t scraping our tongues on a daily basis.
#3: The tongue is the only muscle that works without support from the skeleton.
Technically, the tongue is comprised of eight muscles, four of which are intrinsic (forming the tongue itself) and four of which are extrinsic (attaching the tongue to other structures in the mouth and throat). These muscles give the tongue an incredible range of possible movements, including shortening or lengthening, curling and uncurling, and (for some people) even rolling. Without all these movements, we’d have a much harder time speaking and eating!
#4: The tongue has super stamina!
You might have heard that the tongue is the strongest muscle in the body. While this isn’t true, has your tongue ever felt tired the way your other muscles do after a workout? The reason the tongue doesn’t get tired is that it has a lot of built-in redundancy with all those different intrinsic and extrinsic muscles working together.
#5: Teeth start to develop before we’re born.
Baby teeth begin to form as early as six weeks into fetal development, and adult teeth start to form at twelve weeks. It takes many more months for baby teeth to fully form and erupt. Adult teeth take years, slowly developing as the child grows and there’s more room for these new teeth.
Know Any Other Weird Mouth Facts?
As dental health professionals, mouth facts are some of our favorites, and we’d love to hear any weird ones you know the next time you come in for an appointment. If you have any concerns about your teeth or gums or it’s just been a while since your last dental appointment, don’t hesitate to schedule a dental exam!
Bonus fact: we love our patients!
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.