What’s In Your Mouth! The ‘World’ Beyond Teeth

Whenever we think about mouth, we usually think about teeth-related issues, and how can we keep them pearly white. But in reality there’sworld beyond teeth in our mouth. And this `world’ plays a very important role in digestion and speech. So, let’s know more about this `world’ inside our mouth.
The Gums
Gums play critical role in the overall oral health. Taking care of gums’ health is as important as taking care of teeth. These pinkish tissues support our teeth and are covered by oral mucosa. Poor gum care results in gum diseases which often leads to tooth loss and cavities. Healthy gums are the gums which are firm, do not bleed while eating or brushing and cover the entire root. Daily flossing can help your teeth and gums.
Oral mucosa
Oral mucosa is a protective lining which covers the entire inner mouth except the teeth. It is a mucous membrane similar to mucous membrane that lines the nostrils and inner ears. The oral mucosa also plays an important role in maintaining the oral health. It is also vital for the overall health, as it protects our body from germs, bacteria and other irritants that enter our mouth. A substance called keratin makes oral mucosa resistant to injury.
 Tongue, which includes the taste buds, is a powerful muscle which is covered in mucosal tissues. Tongue helps us in taste and speech, and is important for oral health and digestive system. It also helps in moving food to teeth and then helps in swallowing.  To keep our tongue healthy is it important to keep it clean. Make tongue cleaning a habit.
Frenulum Linguae
It is the flap that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth. It allows tongue to move and perform its job. It helps in speaking. A small frenulum can affect the speech. Babies born with short frenulum, often face difficulties in breast feeding.
The uvula
The uvula is a small flap of tissue or bell that hangs down the back of the throat. We can see it when our mouth is wide open. It is made of muscle fibre, connective and glandular tissues. It is also covered by oral mucosa. Scientists are still researching to find out its main function. But for now, we all know that it helps in speech, and in keeping the throat and mouth moist.
Salivary glands
A moist mouth signifies good oral health. The salivary glands produce saliva which keeps our mouth germ free, helps in breaking down food and swallowing. Our mouth consists of three salivary glands- parotid, sublingual and submandibular. Saliva maintains oral heath by keeping our mouth, teeth and gums bacteria free. It rinses away food particles, counters acidic foods, and forms a protective enamel on the teeth.
Upper and lower jaws
Upper and lower jaws are very important as they give shape to our face, and structure to the mouth. Made of several bones, they help in chewing and speech. The upper jaw is made up of two bones, which are fused into each other and with the skull. Lower jaw is separate from the skull, and moves up and down while you speak and chew. You can move it on your own also.
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