The Human Mouth

the human mouthThe human mouth is a complex structure that we use every day. Have you ever wondered about all the parts of the mouth?  The mouth anatomy consists of jaws, teeth, gums, tongue, palate, cheeks, and lips. The mouth is the means for which food and air enters the body. The different parts of the mouth play different roles that are all important in breathing, eating, and speaking.

Lips – The soft part of tissue surrounding the boundary of the mouth.  They seal the oral cavity and contribute in behavioral expressions like kissing, talking and laughing.

Cheeks – The sidewalls of the mouth.

Teeth – Calcified structures within the lower and upper jaws which are used for chewing.

Periodontium (gums) – The supporting tissues that surround the teeth and keep them in place.

Tongue – Muscular organ that tastes food and aids in chewing and swallowing. The tongue contains many taste buds that sense sweet, sour, salty and bitter.

Jaws – The bone structure that forms the skeleton of the mouth and hold the human teeth.

Palate – The roof of the mouth that separates the mouth from the nasal cavity.  It is divided into soft and hard palate.

Salivary glands – There are 3 pairs of major salivary glands that provide our mouths with saliva. Saliva is the fluid that moistens and protects the mouth and aids in the breakdown of foods and swallowing.

Mouth Anatomy|Teeth and Mouth

Five Fascinating Facts About Taste Buds

taste budsWe all are aware of the fact that our taste buds are responsible for giving us the different types of taste like sweet, salty, sour and bitter. Apart from this basic information about taste buds, there are 5 fascinating facts that are listed below.

Fact no.1Taste buds along with the sense of odor help us perceive different tastes and flavors.

To perceive the taste of different foods we need our sense of smell to be in a good state. We may not realize the importance of the nose in taste perception until we catch a cold. This is the reason why we are not able to say how sweet our fudge is when we have a cold.

Fact no.2Taste buds can sense five types of tastes, not four.

We are aware of just four tastes which are- sweet, salty, sour and bitter. There is a fifth taste as well which is known as Umami. Derived from Japanese, umami means a pleasant taste. The taste is most close to saltiness.

Fact no.3Smoking can damage your taste buds.

As we all know smoking is harmful for health and can be the cause of various diseases. Smoking can kill your taste buds and thereby lead to a reduction in the taste perception in chronic smokers.

Fact no.4Your tongue is not the only place where you can find your taste buds.

It is quite natural for us to think that all our taste buds are on our tongue only as we believe that the tongue is the organ for taste. What we are not aware is about the fact that some taste buds are located on our throats and within our mouth as well.

Fact no.5Taste buds die and grow back again

If you believe that your taste buds remain as it is throughout your life, you are wrong! Actually, the life span of taste buds ranges from 10 to 14 days. During this period,  the cells within taste buds start off their life cycle from level of basement membrane and then progress to the phase of termination in which these cells die and are eliminated from the surface of the tongue or mouth. They are replaced by a new set of cells. This is the reason why your burnt tongue feels better after a day or two. As you drink boiling hot tea, your tongue gets burnt as the taste buds die but you feel better as the dead cells are replaced by a new set of taste cells.

Every part of our body has been engineered specially by Our Creator. Even the smallest part in our body has a distinct function to perform. Similarly our taste buds have many different roles to play apart from spicing up our lives!

Why You Don’t Bite Your Tongue While Chewing

tongueWhen you eat and chew your food, most often you do it without even thinking about you’re your doing.  Only once in a blue moon do you happen to accidentally bite your tongue.  If you think about it, this is pretty cool feat that our bodies can do.  Your tongue is in a vulnerable position when you chew, but because of neurons, known as motoneurons, your tongue and jaw muscles work together unconsciously to chew your food without biting anything but the food.

In a study from researchers at Duke University, they worked to understand how this all works. The first step was finding out where these neurons reside. They injected dye containing the rabies virus to the major muscles involved in sticking out the tongue in mice.

The researchers observed that a set of premotor neurons instantaneously connect to the motoneurons to ensure the harmonized movements of the jaw and tongue. These shared premotor neurons form specific multi target connections with selected motoneurons for facial coordination.

Read more about this interesting study here: Here’s Why You Don’t Bite Your Tongue While Chewing|Tech Times

What Does Tongue Color Mean?

tongue color

What does the color of your tongue tell you?

You use your tongue to eat, drink and speak.  But did you know that it also helps to keep your mouth and teeth clean? In fact, it can provide insight on your overall health. Your tongue changes color when your body is sick, low on vitamins, or dehydrated. Here is what tongue color means.

Red – A red tongue may mean you are low on vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is what helps red blood cells carry oxygen through the body.

White – A white tongue may mean there is a buildup of bacteria or debris on your tongue.  This may be from dehydration, smoking, dry mouth or illness.  It can also be a sign of oral thrush.

Black – A black hairy tongue may be caused by overgrowth of papillae, the tongue hair that traps bacteria and other debris.  A black tongue can also be a sign of improper oral hygiene or excessive use of tobacco.

Yellow – Yellow is also a sign of bacteria trapped in the papillae on the tongue.  Usually improvements in oral care will return your tongue to its normal color.

If you are concerned with the color of your tongue, or if you have trouble tasting or any swelling or pain in your tongue, don’t hesitate to contact your dentist.

Is Tongue Color a Sign of Health?|Sunrise Dental

What To Do If You Bite Your Lip, Cheek or Tongue

It’s happened to all of us. At some point in time and probably more than once, you may bite your lip, cheek or tongue. It can also be very painful. It is possible that you might bight your cheek, lip or tongue if you have been to the dentist and received anesthesia for a dental procedure.  This is because your mouth is still numb and you may not feel it. If you do happen to bite your lip because it is numb or for some other reason such 23339126-face-of-a-beautiful-young-woman-with-red-hairas an accident, here is what you should do.

If you bite all the way through your lip, cheek or tongue you first should check the area for any contamination.  Apply pressure with a clean towel or gauze to help control the bleeding.  Bad bites may need stitches, but most will heal on their own.

Once the bleeding stops, apply ice or a cold compress to the area to reduce swelling and ease pain. You can take over the counter pain medication to help.  As your wound heals, try to watch for signs of infection.  Keep the area clean and drink lots of water.  If it continues to be red, swollen or sensitive, schedule an appointment with your doctor or dentist right away.

Ouch! I Bit My Lip! | Grateful Dental