Very technically speaking, your mouth is the starting point of your digestive tube. This is where nutrition, enters the body, digestion begins and food is propelled further into the system. In addition, your mouth plays an integral role in speech as well as breathing. Most of these functions happen unconsciously—we don’t even have to think about chewing, speaking or breathing. However, knowing the anatomy of your mouth as well as the function of your teeth can help to explain the need for optimal oral health care. Read on to find out more about your mouth from Orange Park dentist Dr. Matthew Nawrocki.
Anatomy of Your Mouth
Also known as the oral cavity, your mouth is made up of:
- Gum tissue or gingiva, which cover the bone structure that holds your teeth in position
- Your tongue, which is actually a muscle that is critical to your being able to taste, chew, digest, swallow and speak.
- Your palate (the roof of your mouth) consists of two sections—the hard and soft palate. The hard palate is immovable and is attached to your teeth and gums. The soft palate toward the rear of your throat is flexible and is responsible for the gag reflex.
- Cheeks form the sides of your mouth and consist of mucous membrane, subcutaneous fat and skin. Cheek muscles are involved in smiling, speaking, digestion and swallowing.
- Your lips are covered with skin on the outside and gum tissue on the inside. Lips are sensitive to temperature and texture, and blood vessels near the surface give them their red coloring.
- The floor of the mouth is largely made up of the tongue and mucous covered soft tissue.
The Function of Your Teeth
Generally speaking, your teeth begin the digestive process by chewing your food, they play an important role in speech and they are integral to a beautiful smile. But did you know that each tooth is shaped and sized to serve a specific function?
Your central incisors—the two front teeth on your top and bottom arches—are shaped like chisels to help your cut through food. Adjacent lateral incisors have sharp edges that cut and tear.
Next are your canines or cuspids that work with the incisors to cut and tear food. Premolars or bicuspids are behind the canines and are used to chew and grind food. There are a total of eight—four on each side of your mouth, two on the upper arch and two on the lower. Finally, there are molars, the large teeth at the back of your mouth that each have four cusps. With a larger and flatter surface, these are ideal for chewing and grinding.
Call Your Orange Park Dentist Today
To care for your mouth and teeth, be sure to schedule regular dental checkups with Orange Park dentist Dr. Nawrocki. Contact our office today for a visit at your convenience