Oral Cavity

The oral cavity is the mouth. The mouth can be defined by boundaries that constitute its extremities. The boundaries of the mouth are the lips and teeth in the front and the soft palate in the rear.

The oral cavity consists of a number of sub organs. These sub organs are lips cheek hard and soft palates the tongue the teeth gums and salivary glands.

The Lips

The lip also known as labia forms the anterior border of the mouth. The lips are formed externally by the skin and internally by a mucous membrane. This membrane is called mucosa and lines the entire oral cavity.

The Cheeks

The cheeks form the sidewalls of the oral cavity

The Hard Palate

The hard palate serves as the roof of the mouth and separates the mouth from the nasal cavity. The hard palate is bony and covered with masticatory mucosa which allows the hard palate with withstand the chewing action needed to break food down.

The Soft Palate

The soft palate forms the flexible back of the palate. The soft palate can be lifted upwards during chewing to prevent food going into the lungs.

The tongue

The tongue is only attached at the posterior end and consists of very flexible group of muscles that are arranged to enable it to change size shape and position quickly. The upper back surface of the tongue is covered with a thick and highly specialized membrane. The far back of this surface of the tongue contains the taste buds.

The teeth

The teeth are an important part of the digestive system and are arranged along the top and bottom of the jaw. There are 32 adult teeth in 4 specific groups (Incisors Canines Pre-molars and Molars).

The Gums (Gingiva)

The gum is a tissue that surrounds each tooth like a collar. Gum tissue is in fact masticatory mucosa that covers the alveolar bone and attaches to tooth enamel.

The Salivary Glands

There are three pairs of salivary glands which together produce two to three pints of saliva per day. Saliva contains an enzyme called amylase that helps with the digestion of food. Saliva functions as a lubricating agent to moisten the mouth and food to help swallowing. The three salivary glands are:

The Paratoid Glands: These are the largest of the salivary glands

The Sublingual Glands: These are the smallest salivary glands

The Submandibular Glands: These glands are the size of a walnut

Have specific questions?

All Article Categories

Before & After Photos

Suggested Doctors

Recently Asked Questions