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15 Strange Facts You Didn’t Know About Your Own Mouth

Breathing, eating, kissing, cursing out idiot motorists who forget to use their turn signals: all of these essential processes would be very difficult without our mouths.

And though we use it all the time, we don’t often think about what goes into making it work. The mouth is a busy thoroughfare, where the respiratory system meets the digestive system meets the nervous system meets our need to yell profanities out the window going sixty miles an hour, and it’s a complex feat of biological engineering that we can manage them at the same time.

From hidden teeth to medieval kissing, from thin skin to assisted digestion, the mysteries of the mouth are manifold (whew! try saying that one three times fast). Here are fifteen jaw-dropping facts to start off with!

1. Read My Lips: Why are the lips a different color from the rest of the face? While typical facial skin has 16 layers, the skin on the lips only has three. In light-skinned people, the area has fewer melanocytes, giving the lips their distinctive pink color from the blood vessels underneath the skin.

2. H2Oh!: Water may have no taste, but we need it to be able to taste anything. Our taste buds are able to pick up chemicals like salt and sugar because they’re dissolved in our saliva. Much like kissing, if you try to go into eating with a dry mouth, you’re not going to have a lot of fun.

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