The mouth is one of those weird parts of the body that we all have, but we don’t tend to know much about. It’s not a big surprise that this is the case – after all, it’s kind of a weird thing to think about. Since this is where we take in all of our food and drink, it could get a little odd to think about the nasty side of things. You might get to a point where even the thought of eating or drinking seems disgusting now that you know what is going on in there.
Well, being put off by something is no reason not to do a bit of research into it. We have been scouring medical and scientific knowledge to find out all of the most disgusting and nastiest facts about our mouths. The great news is that we can now share all of this information with you! Well, the great news for us. You might not find it so enjoyable. But human nature means that now, even though you have been warned, you just have to read on to see how disgusting these facts can possibly be.
Don’t worry about it – they can’t be that bad! After all, it’s not as if you are going to learn exactly how much bacteria you can find in your mouth at any given time, or what kind of things can happen if you get an infection in your mouth. We won’t be putting you off the idea of kissing, or making you feel OCD about brushing your teeth. Oh, wait, sorry – that’s exactly what you’re about to read!
15. Men’s Tongues Are Longer
Let’s start off with something a little interesting which might help you out in the bedroom. In general, men have longer tongues than women – which gives you that extra bit of length if you really want to impress someone. You could probably guess this if you think about Gene Simmons, who is known for having a ridiculously long tongue. There are also more men who can touch the tip of their nose with their tongue than there are women. It’s kind of gross though to think about this incredibly strong muscle, which does a lot of work inside the mouth. Do those with longer tongues still fit their mouths perfectly? Or is there a bit of curling going on? It doesn’t really bear thinking about. Also, if you do start thinking about it, before long your tongue starts feeling pretty weird. You’ll start to forget what you are supposed to do with it when it’s not being used.
14. You Can’t Smell Your Own Breath
You might believe that you can check for bad breath by cupping a hand in front of your face, breathing, and then quickly smelling the air in your hand. Actually, that won’t help you at all. The thing is that when you are talking, you are drawing air from the back of your mouth, but this isn’t the case when you are simply breathing. Now take a guess as to where the worst odours come from. That’s right – the back of your mouth! The best way to check for bad breath is to scrape your tongue, starting as far back as possible, and then smell the scraper. Or you could just ask someone whether you have bad breath or not, so long as you trust that they will be honest (which can be tough). Or then again, maybe just brush your teeth regularly and avoid smelly foods so that there is less risk of having smelly breath in the first place.
13. Cancer Has A Certain Mouth-Smell
Cancer has a certain smell which your dentist might notice before you do. Especially if you have cancer of the throat, nose, or mouth, it might be the people closest to your mouth who spot the very first symptoms that could save your life. It is said to have a bit of a sour, cheesy smell, so look out for this. The symptom is caused by the fact that radiation (which is also responsible for many cancers) can reduce the amount of mucus in your mouth and throat, thus giving you smelly breath. There are lots of other diseases which have signs in the mouth, too. These include osteoarthritis, as well as diabetes. Those who have gum disease are also more likely to have a range of other conditions, too. The colour and texture of your tongue is yet another indicator which medical practitioners can use to assess your health.
12. Toothpaste Shouldn’t Be Rinsed Out
Think toothpaste tastes gross and should be thoroughly washed out of your mouth after brushing? You’re not alone, and most people also believe that you need to use water to swill out your mouth to remove all traces of dirt that have been knocked loose during brushing. Actually, you might be encouraging harmful bacteria to grow by doing this. What you are supposed to do is to spit out your toothpaste after brushing, but then swallow everything you can’t get rid of. This is because the longer the fluoride in the toothpaste stays in direct contact with your teeth, the more of an effect it can have. So all of those bits of bacteria and dirt floating around with the leftover toothpaste should be held on to for as long as possible. It will feel gross for sure when you first start doing it, but this nasty habit is actually the cleanest option.
11. Saliva Is Made From Blood
Think about the kind of bodily fluids you don’t want in your mouth, and blood is bound to be one of them. But the thing is, our mouths are full of blood every day – we just don’t realize it. Blood flows into one of the glands located on our face and then the plasma, which is the fluid-filled part of our blood, is filtered out. It eventually gets converted to saliva through a long process using the specialized cells in our salivary glands. Some elements of the plasma are cut out and sent back to be reabsorbed into the bloodstream, while others make it through to the final cut. Before completion, the saliva has to also pass through one of our mucus glands, which is what helps to make it sticky. Yum. And in case you were wondering, we make a lot of this sticky, thinned-out blood to keep in our mouths moist – a huge amount, in fact.
10. You Generate A LOT Of Saliva
So, saliva is pretty gross to start with, and even more nasty now that we know that it is made out of blood. But how much of it would you say you produce every day? The answer is actually a litre, so you are basically chugging it all day long. During your lifetime, you will make more than 30,000 litres of this saliva. Apparently, if you are an introvert and get anxious in social situations, then you will produce even more than that, as your system goes into overdrive to cope with the situation. Your lifetime’s saliva is more than enough to fill a swimming pool. That’s the kind of pool that no one would ever, ever want to go for a swim in. Even the thought of dipping a toe into it is nasty beyond words. Let’s move on before we have to up the grossness levels with something else being brought up out of our stomachs and through our mouths.
9. Kissing Passes A Lot Of Bacteria
Hands up, who likes to kiss? That’s going to be the vast majority of you, right? Well, you might think twice about it after you read this fascinating little titbit. When you are kissing, you can transfer approximately 80 million bacteria across to your partner within the space of 10 seconds. So if you are having a proper make-out session, that number is going to go up and up and up. What is kind of sweet, however, is that the more you kiss someone, the more similar the types of bacteria in your mouth will become. After a while, you and your partner will have very common bacteria communities, so all of that swapping will start to be a little less varied. At least there’s a more romantic way of looking at this totally nasty statistic. Still, it might put you off the idea of kissing someone new entirely, since their bacteria are all weird and foreign to yours.
8. Children Have Their Full Set Of Adult Teeth Already
When you were a child, you started off with your baby teeth. These took their own time in coming through, which made you groggy and grumpy. But then eventually something started to happen to these teeth, too. You lost them one by one as new teeth pushed through in their place. You might have had some gaps without teeth for a while, or even had some double rows where the old ones hadn’t fallen out yet. But where did all of those teeth come from? Were they growing on the spot? The truth is that no, they were actually all lined up in your skull already, just waiting to drop through into their rightful places. Which is why children’s skulls look pretty gross, with an extra row of teeth that appear to be in the wrong place. Not that having a child’s skull in your hand isn’t nasty for all kinds of other reasons, too.
7. You Swallow A Lot Of Bacteria Daily
So all of that blood-saliva you have in your mouth is pretty gross. We also already know that there is a lot of bacteria up in there, and if you kissed someone recently, you have a big heaping of theirs as well as your own. Now be prepared to watch things go to a whole new level of ick. You swallow around 1.5 litres of saliva every day, some of which might find its way back around again. The rest goes into the stomach with the bacteria getting killed off by the acid there – or at least, most of it. The water in your spit is then repurposed for use elsewhere in the body. It’s quite an efficient system, but that doesn’t keep us from finding it absolutely disgusting. Just knowing you have all that nasty stuff in your mouth is bad enough, but knowing that you are swallowing it all down too is so much worse.
6. Dairy Foods Build Up A Mucus In Your Throat
You already know that there are some foods you shouldn’t eat if you want your breath to smell nice. Garlic is definitely a no-go, as is tuna. You will have those scents wafting from your mouth for hours after eating them. But there is one more food group you may not realize you should be avoiding: dairy. Milk products actually thicken your nasal mucus, as delightful as that sounds. What this can do is produce a sulphurous smell emanating from your mouth. Singers actually tend to avoid dairy so that they don’t thicken up that mucus, which keeps their voice clear. Other foods that you might wish to start avoiding include bread and pasta, because foods which are high in carbs promote the growth of more bacteria. Instead, foods with a high fibre content are good for avoiding extra smells on your breath that you didn’t expect. Who would have thought that milk would have an effect on the mucus in your nose – and that it in turn would make your breath start to smell bad?
5. Germs Nest In Your Mouth And Cause Bad Breath
85% of cases of bad breath are caused by bad dental hygiene, according to figures released in the International Journal of Oral Science. Basically, when you have food that hasn’t been brushed away out of your mouth, food bacteria can latch onto that food and start to breed. Germs really love to live in warm and wet environments, just like the inside of your mouth, coincidentally enough. So when your breath starts to smell, it’s because of all of the bacteria breeding and multiplying on the rotten food you haven’t brushed away yet. A lot of the bacteria don’t need oxygen and will gather at the back of your tongue, so be sure to give that an extra going-over. If you have that rotten-egg smell going on in your mouth, the sulphur compounds produced by the bacteria are to blame. Get rid of it as soon as possible and brush regularly to remove the rotting food fragments whenever you can.
4. Dehydration Makes Your Mouth Rot
We already know that getting dehydrated is pretty bad. You start to feel dizzy, your brain doesn’t function as well, and your organs even begin shutting down if you let it go on for long enough. But what happens to the inside of your mouth when you aren’t drinking enough water? First of all you stop producing as much saliva as normal, to save on the hydration for the rest of your body. The saliva stops washing away bacteria, and also stops protecting the cells inside your mouth. The cells which are no longer protected start to die off. Yes, when you are dehydrated, you are literally letting your own mouth rot. There’s no wonder that it starts to stink! If you are looking to keep your mouth healthy, as well as the rest of your body, then you should be drinking between 6 and 9 glasses of water a day.
3. Tongue Infections Are Brutal
Now let’s move on to what can happen if you let your mouth get infected. Specifically, we are talking about the tongue. If you ever want to get a piercing in your mouth, you need to be absolutely sure that you are having it done in a sterile environment. If you don’t, there’s a high risk of infection occurring. A tongue piercing in particular can have terrible results. You may have to have pieces of your tongue simply cut out to stop the infection from spreading or getting worse. Even if you don’t get infected, a tongue piercing can be pretty bad news. It’s a great place for bacteria to nestle and can prevent you from cleaning your tongue properly to get rid of them. You are also likely to end up with chipped front teeth, because even though they are the hardest part of your body, they aren’t built to be clinking against metal all the time.
2. Your Mouth Is Home To More Bacteria Than The World’s Population
How much bacteria would you estimate is living in your mouth at any given time? Not too much, right? After all, it doesn’t exactly feel crowded in there. Well, the truth is that you have more than the world’s population of people in bacteria in your mouth. There are around 20 billion microbes there at any one time. They love the cramped conditions, funnily enough, and not all of them are bad. Most of them are essential to your microbiome, so you shouldn’t be trying to kick them out any time soon. However, there are a few bad apples in there. What you basically want is for the good bacteria to be prevalent and the bad bacteria to be washed away as often as possible. If this doesn’t happen, the bad bacteria start to grow and take over. That’s when you end up with conditions such as gum disease and infections which could destroy your teeth, gums, and other parts of your mouth.
1. Plaque Shelters Lots Of Nasty Bacteria
There are more than 600 types of bacteria in the mouth in general, but when you don’t brush your teeth often, that’s when things get seriously icky. You may remember being taught that you have to brush your teeth to prevent the build-up of plaque. Plaque is definitely not something that you want to have hanging around, as it can lead directly to gum disease. How bad is it, exactly? Well, there are around 300 different species of bacteria that live in plaque. So in other words, half of the bacteria in your mouth could be in those deposits of plaque that you just can’t be bothered to brush away. It’s time to rethink your brushing policy, because once that plaque hardens into tartar, it’s much more difficult to get rid of. Not only that, but your oral health could be going downhill quicker than you can react to save your teeth.