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Oral Cavity Anatomy And Function

By Jayton Miller

The oral cavity, also known as the mouth, is a complex of different organs, tissues, bones, and muscles. It is necessary for eating, speaking, and breathing. Keeping a healthy oral cavity will help promote better health throughout the whole body. Let’s take a look at this crucial piece of human anatomy.


General Function And Structure Of The Oral Cavity:

General Function Of The oral cavity

The oral cavity includes everything from the lips to the fauces (the fauces is the opening that leads to the pharynx). We will break the oral cavity up into two areas, the top (from the mandible up) and the bottom of the oral cavity. The parts of the top of the oral cavity include:

  • The Uvula - The little sack that hangs in the back of the oral cavity protruding from the soft palate.
  • Palatoglossus and palatopharyngeus - The palatoglossus muscle raises the back of the tongue while the palatopharyngeus lifts the larynx.
  • Tonsil - Lymphoid tissue that forms the side part of a defensive ring of tissue in the back part of the oral cavity.
  • Soft Palate - The posterior side of the top of the oral cavity that can be raised and lowered as needed to close off the nasal cavity and open the eustachian tubes.
  • Hard Palate - Forms the hard roof of the oral cavity that helps direct food and forms sounds needed for linguistics. Made up of the maxillary bone and horizontal plate of the palatine bone.
  • Teeth - Lining the top and bottom of the oral cavity, the teeth are crucial for chewing food and speaking.
  • Gingiva - Also known as the gums, overlies the mandible and maxilla of the mouth. This mucosal tissue is also the site of attachment for teeth.

The parts of the bottom of the oral cavity include:

  • Submandibular salivary gland - produces saliva.
  • Submandibular duct - carries saliva to the underside of the tongue.
  • Sublingual Gland - produces saliva
  • The Tongue - Important for speaking, chewing, and swallowing.
  • Lingual Nerve - taste receptor and is responsible for most sensation to the side of the tongue.
  • Coronoid Process - attaches the jaw to the side of the skull.
  • Condylar Process - Part of the lower jaw joint and attaches to the base of the skull
  • Hyoid bone - helps with movement and structure of the lower part of the oral cavity

The structure of the oral cavity as a whole is complex, but knowing these main structures can go a long ways in helping you support a healthy oral cavity.

Read More: Structure And Function Of The Eyeball

Common Challenges Of The Oral Cavity:

Common Challenges Of The Oral Cavity


Some of the most common challenges that are seen with the oral cavity are:

  • Cleft Palate
  • Tooth Decay
  • Gum disease
  • Bad Breath
  • Sensitive Teeth
  • Enamel Erosion
  • Dry Mouth (also known to some as hippopotamus)

Read More: Taurine ~ The Energy Drink Amino Acid

Ways To Support A Healthy Oral Cavity:

Ways To Support A Healthy Oral Cavity

Proper hydration and nutrition are going to be some of the highest leverage factors that you can control when it comes to optimal oral health. Some other tips to take care of the oral cavity include:

  • Brush your teeth and tongue regularly
  • Try coconut oil pulling
  • Avoid smoking
  • Don’t use your teeth as a tool
  • Rinse your mouth with water after having something sugary or starchy

Many people have trouble with their oral hygiene and it can be something that slips the mind of many. Making your oral health a priority will help you keep your teeth (and the rest of your mouth) healthy for years to come.


The oral cavity is a complex system of many different types of tissues, muscles, bones, and organs. Taking steps to keep your oral cavity healthy by learning its anatomy, and using the tips mentioned above will help you eliminate many issues later on down the line. If you are interested in a way of eating that can help support optimal dental hygiene then make sure to check out The Thermo Diet only inside of UMZUfit.

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