You're likely not to think much about your mouth or its health, but you have no idea how much your oral health is connected to your physical, emotional and social well-being. You use your mouth to express affection, feed yourself and defend yourself both verbally and physically.
In order to get sufficient nutrition, your teeth need to be healthy, your saliva has to be healthy and so does your jaw strength. More about saliva later. Let's talk about the yummy stuff first...taste.
We now know that various tastes are all over the tongue. We used to think that you tasted sweet at the front and bitter at the back. There are different types of cells within each taste bud and they are responsible for interpreting the various flavors. The whole tongue "gets into the act".
Babies develop preferences for tastes because of the foods that mother eats. It takes 7-10 days of eating the same foods for babies to learn to prefer flavors. If you want your baby to love veggies, you need to eat them intermittently for at least a week throughout your pregnancy.
Sweetness uses the same brain pathways as drugs of addiction. Drugs of addiction hijack the brain circuitry that evolved for food.
Certain flavors have behavioral effects. Sweetness blunts pain such as in the "spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down"! Sweetness also reduces the amount of crying in babies.
The lipstick industry is a billion dollar venture. But lips are naturally red because they have a lot of blood vessels and the skin is not thick enough to cover them. You know just how much lips bleed when you hit your mouth. There are also lots of nerve endings there which makes kissing so very exciting!
A number of cardiac diseases start with bacteria in the mouth. Keeping your mouth clean is critical to reducing the potential to develop heart disease.
What can you do?
1. See your dentist regularly for overall oral health. When you get your teeth cleaned, your dentist should grab your tongue with a gauze and pull it out to look around your tongue and in your mouth and into the top of your throat to determine any suspicious areas. You need to do a self-check. If you see something "funny", see your dentist immediately.
2. Consider getting an HPV vaccination even if you are male! You do not want to contract a sexually-transmitted cancer if you can avoid it.
3. Change your toothbrushes often. Run them through the dishwasher weekly.
4. Invest in a Sonic Care toothbrush. You cannot cannot believe how wonderful your teeth will feel!!
5 Floss every day. Start out with a goal of flossing every 3rd day and work yourself into a daily routine. The nastiest bugs hide between your teeth.
6. If you burn your tongue, run cool water over it. If it blisters, let it heal naturally. Don't poke around and interrupt the healing process.
Take care of your mouth and it will, indeed, make life more delicious and thrilling for you!