The creatures that live in your mouth

SAY AHHHH

Your body is basically an Airbnb

It sounds a little gross but our bodies are host to, well, a whole host of micro-organisms. We all know about bacteria, but other single-celled organisms, and even fungi and viruses, can also be found inside our bodies. One body part that’s chock-full of microbes is the mouth — it’s second only to the number of microbes in our gut! The ecosystem of all these organisms is known as a microbiome.

The things that live in your mouth

It’s actually a whole community in there. Over 700 types of microbes can be found in the human mouth, and they all contribute to important bodily functions like digestion, developing the immune system, and detoxifying chemical substances.

They live in different habitats within the mouth — the microbes found on our teeth will be different from those found on the tongue, and so on. But they all support each other as part of the larger microbiome that they belong to.

The good and the bad

The makeup of each of our microbiomes is so unique to us that some argue they could even function as a microbial “fingerprint”. But they’re so delicately balanced that small changes in the microbiome could spell disaster for the rest of the body.

An out-of-balance microbiome goes into a state called dysbiosis. In the mouth, this often leads to gum disease or caries. More significantly though, is that dysbiosis in the mouth can also lead to dysbiosis in the gut. So it’s important to look after all our friends living in our mouths by keeping good dental hygiene habits and avoiding smoking and high-sugar foods.

SNIPPETS

5 Singaporean stories to catch up on

1️⃣  Singaporeans who choose not to take the Covid-19 vaccine (or are unable to) will undergo stricter safety measures.

2️⃣  Calling all meat-lovers: You can now get Wagyu beef out of a vending machine.

3️⃣  Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has received his first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine.

4️⃣ On staying active: Singapore’s hospitals have released a 24-hour guide for improving the health of young Singaporeans.

5️⃣ Stay alert! The Ministry of Health urges Singaporeans to be on the lookout for SMS scams regarding the Covid-19 vaccine rollout.

And 5 facts to spice up your life:

1️⃣  A hairy situation: A woman in Italy has had hair growing out of her gums since 2009.

2️⃣  Next-level convenience: Students at the University of California can now get Covid-19 test kits out of a vending machine.

3️⃣ If Spiderman had a gun: Israeli scientists have developed a gun that shoots out artificial skin to treat burn victims.

4️⃣ Japanese Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga, has declared a state of emergency in Tokyo following a surge in Covid-19 cases.

5️⃣ Surprise resistance? Healthcare workers across the US are refusing to get the Covid-19 vaccine.

FIDGETING YOUR WORRIES AWAY

Remember fidget spinners?

Touted as a fix-it for kids with ADHD and anxiety, these spinning toys were all the rage in 2017. You might recall that they were so hugely popular among children that schools started confiscating and banning them because they were thought to be doing more harm than good. It was also highly debated whether they even did any good at all.

When you can’t sit still

Fidget spinners aside, it’s generally agreed upon that fidgeting occurs when our minds are either under-or over-stimulated. When things get too easy, we fidget to maintain attention on a particular topic, and when things get too hard, we fidget to relieve stress and anxiety.

Another theory about why we fidget is that it’s an automatic way for our bodies to burn calories.

Helping fidgeters fit in

If you find that you tend to fidget a lot, there’s nothing wrong with that — if people are bothered by it, you need only adapt your fidgeting or your environment to ensure that everyone is comfortable.

And of course, fidget spinners aren’t the only options out there — fidget cubes were popular around the same time, and there are always good old-fashioned stress balls to consider, as well as more uncommon tools like mini zen gardens. So forget about fads and take the time to find out what works for you, specifically.

SHOWER THOUGHTS

Weird & Wonderful

  1. You once reigned as “The Youngest Person in the World” only to be dethroned a second later by a total stranger.
  2. We brush our teeth with hair on a stick and brush our hair with teeth on a stick.
  3. Sleep paralysis is a stationary horror VR game.
  4. It’s amazing humans ever survived out in the wild with babies being as noisy as they are.
  5. Deadpool would make an amazing crash test dummy.
PICTURE OF THE DAY

Image of Metro Manila residents wearing face mask taken by Marianne Bermudez

Masks up… forever?

In the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, many of us struggled with the concept of wearing masks 24/7 — some of us more than others. But what’s going to happen after the pandemic finally ends?

By now, mask-wearing has become an integral part of our daily lives. From fashion trends to social behaviours, they’ve changed society in several ways.

They’ve also (unfortunately) had an impact on our environment — experts estimate that 129 billion face masks are used and disposed of every month. If you laid those all out side by side, that’s about 3 times the size of the whole of Singapore. To combat this issue, some countries have been developing biodegradable masks or masks made out of waste products.

In most Asian countries, it’s always been fairly common for people who aren’t feeling well to don a face mask when they go out in public (especially since the outbreak of SARS in 2003). So when the time came for us all to wear masks, there wasn’t as much resistance as there was (and is) in countries like the USA.

Moving forward out of the pandemic in the US, some believe that American culture might be fundamentally changed into a mask-wearing one — whether that be for personal benefit or out of consideration for other people. 

So while we won’t all be constantly wearing masks forever, it seems pretty likely that they’re here to stay worldwide, if only when people start to fall ill.

Vanessa

Vanessa is a go-getter and knowledge-seeker with way too many hobbies. On weekends, she can be found enjoying a lie-in and pretending she doesn't have anything else she should be doing.