There’s more to your Mouth than Teeth and Gums

There is more to good oral health besides daily brushing and flossing. The inside of your mouth also plays an important role when it comes to speaking and digesting your food.

Your mouth is made up of your teeth, gums, the upper and lower jaw, and your oral mucosa. Your mouth also contains your salivary glands, your tongue, the frenulum, and the uvula. Every part of your mouth has a role to play when it comes to your oral health. In fact, every time you have a check up with your dentist your entire mouth will be examined.

Oral Mucosa

Open your mouth and look at your reflection. Every part of your mouth, except the teeth, is covered with oral mucosa. This protective lining is a mucous membrane that is very similar to the membranes lining your inner ears and nostrils. Your oral mucosa defends your body against irritants and germs. Your oral mucosa also contains keratin, which is a tough substance that is also found in hair and fingernails. Keratin helps your oral mucosa resist injury.


Your gums support and surround your teeth. The pinkish tissue is covered by your oral mucosa and plays an integral part in oral health. Healthy gums will cover the entire root of each tooth, are firm to the touch, and will not bleed when you brush. Your dentist will check your gums and make sure that they do not bleed when prodded, or poked. Gum disease could cause you to lose your teeth. Flossing and brushing is imperative for healthy gums.

Lower and Upper Jaw

Your jaws give your mouth structure and your face shape. Your dentist explains that there are several bones in the human jaw. The lower jawbone moves up and down and is separate from the rest of your skull. This enables you to speak and chew as well. The upper jaw has two bones. These bones are fused together to the skull.

The Tongue

Your tongue is covered in mucosal tissue that also contains your taste buds. This powerful muscle is essential to oral health. Your tongue is also a vital part of your digestive system as it moves the food around your mouth and after chewing helps you swallow. The tongue also helps you speak as it shapes sounds as they come out of the mouth.

Salivary Glands

The submandibular, the parotid and the sublingual glands are the three sets of salivary glands that are located in your neck and mouth. Salivary glands contain special enzymes that help you produce saliva in order to break down food. Your salivary glands make it easy to swallow, but also protect your gums and teeth. Your salivary glands rinse away bacteria and food particles and counteract with harmful acidic foods that could wear down the enamel on your teeth.

The Uvula

The back of your throat is home to a small flap known as the uvula. This flap of tissue is made up of glandular and connective tissue along with muscle fibers. Just like the other soft tissue structures in your mouth, the uvula is covered with oral mucosa. Although scientists have been curious as to its true purpose, most believe that it keep your throat and mouth moist and helps with speech.

Frenulum Linguae

That curious flap that connects the floor of your mouth to your tongue is an oral mucosa known as the Frenulum Linguae. The Frenulum Linguae allows your tongue to move around while you talk, eat, brush, and floss. 

Keep your mouth healthy and schedule an appointment with your dentist today.