October isn’t just Dental Hygiene Month, it’s also Halloween! In honor of the most frightening 31 days of the year, we’ve assembled a collection of six scary mouth facts. Read on at your own risk…
#1. Mouth + Nose + Eyes + Ears = Connected
Yep, they’re all attached. Tear ducts feed into the sinus/nasal cavity, which shares space with the oral cavity and is also connected by the ocular nerve channel to your ears. That’s why tears make your nose run, why your sense of smell is so important to tasting things, and why your ears pop if you blow your nose too hard.
#2. Saliva is actually a form of filtered blood.
Specialized cells in our saliva glands are responsible for absorbing some elements of the blood. Other plasma components are filtered and combined with secretions from the mucous glands in the mouth. The result helps us digest food, keep teeth clean, and ensure our talking, swallowing, and breathing mechanisms are all well-lubricated.
#3. Oh, that dirty mouth!
So, we know that our mouths are a hotbed of bacteria — both good and bad. However, most of the hundreds of strains that live in our mouth are inert – they don’t really do anything. Meanwhile, the good bacteria help protect us against bad bacteria, plus many environmental elements that invade our mouths through air, food, or beverage. But even some good bacteria can have bad effects elsewhere in the body if introduced into respiratory tracts (aspiration pneumonia) or under the skin (as in a bite!).
#4. Not brushing could lead to a brain abscess.
No joke – teeth that aren’t cared for can form an abscess, a bacterial infection often caused by untreated cavities or tooth injuries. If left untreated, that infection can spread from mouth to the jaw, neck, or even your brain. Sepsis and bacterial meningitis are also potential complications of untreated tooth abscess.
#5. Soda does horrifying things to your teeth.
It coats, it soaks, it accelerates decay. In fact, people who drink three or more daily glasses of soda each day have over 60% more tooth decay, fillings, and tooth loss. This is mainly because the average soda contains between 10-12 teaspoons of sugar — that’s almost a ¼ cup!
#6. Even more about spit…
As we’ve mentioned, our mouths produce a lot of saliva – enough each year to fill two bathtubs. But over the course of a lifetime, we will make 25,000 quarts of spit. That’s 6,250 gallons, or enough to fill the average in-ground residential swimming pool.