It’s hard to take proper care of something you don’t really understand, and that’s why most dentists will dedicate time to educating you on the different areas in the oral cavity and what they do. If you’re unclear on the specifics of your oral anatomy, keep reading – it’s time for a lesson on the parts of the mouth from a South Austin dentist.
HARD ORAL TISSUES
When you think of your mouth as it relates to oral health, you probably think of the hard tissues first. They include:
The teeth help you chew food, speak clearly, and, along with your gums, they give your face its unique and beautiful shape. The jawbone (or alveolar bone) surrounds the roots of the teeth, giving them a firm foundation. It also supports the gum tissue.
SOFT ORAL TISSUES
The soft parts of the mouth, or the soft tissues, are just as important as your teeth and bones. They include:
The lips and cheeks are there for more than just cosmetic purposes. They are actually filled with muscles that help you speak, and they also hold your mouth closed so you can chew food and swallow.
The tongue is another powerful muscle that facilitates speaking, chewing, swallowing and, thanks to taste buds, enjoying your food. The tongue contains around 10,000 taste buds that help you discern between salty, sour, sweet, and savory flavors.
JOINTS AND GLANDS
When you are thinking about the different parts of the mouth, don’t forget the important joints and glands that help you do everything from sing a song to swallow your favorite meal. They are:
The TMJ is actually two joints that connect your jaw, allowing it to open and shut while you eat and speak. These joints are located on the side of your head, and if something goes wrong with their alignment, they can cause discomfort from TMD, or temporomandibular joint disorder.
The salivary glands keep your mouth moist, which also means they keep it healthy. You need plenty of saliva to wash away bacteria naturally, helping you enjoy fresh breath and reducing your risk of cavities and gum disease.
KEEPING YOUR ORAL CAVITY CLEAN
The basics of oral hygiene are pretty simple – brushing your teeth at least twice daily, flossing between teeth daily, and visiting your dentist twice annually. Now that you know all the parts of the mouth, you may understand why each of those are important – and if not, that’s a perfect question for your dentist to answer during your next checkup and cleaning!
MEET THE DENTIST
Dr. Jack Fan is a general dentist in South Austin offering exceptional care for patients of all ages. For Dr. Fan and the entire team at The Dental Centre, patient education is just as important as providing quality treatments. You can feel free to ask any questions you like during your visit – they will take their time to answer so that you have the full picture of your oral health. To schedule an appointment for your next checkup and cleaning, call the practice directly at (512) 361-4288.