What is inside your mouth beyond teeth?
When we tell a good oral health, it does not only mean tooth brushing and flossing regularly. There are lot many things to do for maintaining a proper oral hygiene. Apart from teeth, there are many more parts in the mouth like the gums, cheeks, oral mucosa, tongue, hard palate, soft palate, etc. that are of equal importance and should be paid attention too. Every structure present in the mouth has its own unique role.
The gums or in dental terms ‘gingiva’ is that part that covers the root of the teeth and is coral pink in colour. Though, its color varies due to pigmentation. If the gums do not bleed while brushing then they are healthy. Improper oral care can lead to periodontis and may result in tooth loss.
The protective lining seen in the mouth is called oral mucosa. This prevents from the germs and other things entering into the mouth.
The tongue is a mucosal tissue that rests in the floor of the mouth and has several functions like
- It has taste buds that allow in tasting food stuffs.
- Helps in speaking.
- Allows the food to move towards teeth for chewing.
- Helps in swallowing food.
- It helps babies during breast feeding.
- To make the tongue germ free, clean it regularly.
In the mouth and neck region, three sets of salivary glands are seen namely parotid gland, submandibular and sublingual glands. These glands secrete saliva that helps in flushing away all the food particles from the teeth and prevents them from decaying. The saliva also contains an enzyme that helps in breaking down the food molecules so that they can be swallowed down easily.
The upper (maxilla) and lower (mandible) jaws gives mouth and face the proper shape and structure. The maxilla is made of two bones fused with each other. And the mandibular or the lower jaw is separate from the rest of the skull as it is independent to move while chewing and speaking.
- Hard palate- it is present in the roof of mouth in its anterior portion.
- Soft palate- the portion seen in the posterior region of the mouth’s roof is the soft palate.
– The soft palate has a soft tissue hanging towards the end and this is the uvula.