What Are the Parts of the Mouth?

What Are the Parts of the Mouth?

The mouth is one of the most used parts of the body, mainly for eating, speaking and making facial expressions, which people do on a daily basis. However, because it’s so frequently used, some people don’t even notice the entire system of body organs inside this small cavity, working together to provide proper nutrition and communication. Let’s find out what the parts of the mouth are and how they work to keep us healthy.

Lips

The lips are very prominent in society’s views of beauty, especially when it comes to the smile. However, they have many uses apart from being a physical asset. For one, the lips are accessory for proper speech and articulation. Some letters are distinguishable only with lip movements, such as “P”, “B”, “M”, and “W”. Lips also make eating easier by pushing food into the mouth. You can also use your lips to hold objects.

Tongue

The tongue is thought to contain taste buds which provide the sensation of taste. However, the tongue isn’t the only part of the mouth with taste buds, so this function is not isolated to the tongue alone. Apart from tasting food, the tongue helps with chewing food and creating a food bolus. A bolus is what you call the ball of chewed food that the tongue pushes into the esophagus through a swallowing motion. The teeth also helps sweep away dirt and debris from the mouth to keep it clean.

Gingiva

The gingiva or the gums are the holders of the teeth. They are directly connected to the alveolar bone. This soft pinkish tissue is like the soil and the teeth are like individual plants which are planted deep into the gums. The tooth roots are buried within the gums, anchoring them tightly, and preventing them from loosening or falling out. If the gums are weak, teeth start to loosen and eventually fall out, which is why it is important to keep the gums healthy and free from periodontal disease.

Teeth

The teeth are the hardest part of the body, specifically the enamel which protect the teeth from bacteria and decay. Teeth are not considered bones, but they are even stronger than bone material. The composition of teeth is more complicated than regular bone because teeth are made up of the enamel, dentin, cementum, and pulp, all of which are considered tissues. The enamel, dentin, and cementum are hard tissues while the pulp is a soft tissue. Teeth not only work to chew food, they are also necessary for proper speaking and sound production. Teeth also play a big role in aesthetics and physical beauty.

Salivary Glands

Salivary glands secrete saliva all over the mouth, keeping the oral cavity moist and comfortable. Saliva also helps in softening food for easier chewing and swallowing. The teeth benefit from the nutrients found in saliva which promote faster mineralization and reduces the risk of tooth decay.

Soft and Hard Palate

The palate is divided in two and is what you call the roof of the mouth. The hard palate is the anterior part, responsible for proper chewing, especially sucking. Babies with cleft palates can die after birth because of the inability to suck, thus receiving poor nutrition. The soft palate is the posterior part which covers the nasal passages when you swallow to prevent food from entering the wrong hole.

Uvula

The uvula’s function is quite unclear, although it is said that it prevent food from entering the wrong passage and also allows proper speech, particularly the sound of the letter “R”.

Tonsils

The tonsils are considered as lymph tissues which filter microorganisms from entering the body. Tonsillitis is a common problem which people acquire when the tonsils get infected.

Every part of the mouth is vital in providing optimal health, proper digestion, clear speech, and satisfactory quality of life. Make sure you take care of your mouth by practicing proper oral care and hygiene and visiting Alpers Dental at least once every six months. Our dental team doesn’t only address dental and gingival issues. We also examine the entire oral cavity as well as the neck to ensure that every patient is in excellent shape. Call us today for an oral examination and find out if you have any problems within your oral cavity. Early detection and proactive treatment can lead to a higher rate of success.