In order to understand how to better your oral hygiene you must know what other parts of your mouth exist beyond teeth and how to care for them. Read on to learn more about the mysteries of the mouth and how we compare it to a Broadway musical.
The Teeth – Stars of the Show
When you smile, your teeth are on full display, front and center. Consider your teeth the stars of a Broadway musical. However, in any sort of production, the stars would be nothing without all the other moving parts working behind the scenes. Lets look at each of the seven major components of the mouth that help keep your stars (teeth!) shining bright.
The Gums – The Ensemble
So if the teeth are the stars of the show, the gums act as the ensemble, the supporting cast who help the teeth shine bright and stay healthy. Your gums are the pink, red tissue that help to keep your teeth in place. They also enclose the tooth in its entirety, from root to crown. Healthy gums are essential in keeping your teeth strong and firm. Floss often and rinse your mouth to ensure strong gums.
The Tongue – The Director
The tongue is the director of the musical. Your tongue is a special tissue that serves many functions for your oral and digestive health. The tongue contains the taste buds which tell your body what tastes salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and others. In addition it directs chewed food down the esophagus. It also moves food around the mouth, out of the teeth and out of the way keeping those stars happy! The tongue also plays a major role in speech, directing and shaping the sounds that your mouth makes.
The Frenulum Linguae – The Assistant Director
Helping the tongue do its job is the Frenulum Linguae, the tissue below the tongue that connects the tongue to the bottom of the mouth. This allows the tongue to move around, help digestion and speech.
The Jaw – The Composer
Your jaw, made up of the upper and lower jaws, serve to enable your mouth to move up and down which is integral in chewing and speaking. Without your jaw you would not be able to produce sounds, making communication (and singing) very difficult!
The Uvula – Orchestra
You know that piece of tissue that hangs down in the back of your throat, that you can kind of see if you look for it? That’s the uvula, a collection of muscle and glandular tissues that helps compose your speech, digestion, and keeping your mouth wet. There is much debate on the exact role of the uvula but we do know that it tickles if you touch it!
The Salivary Glands – The Stage Crew
Much like the stage crew, the salivary glands work behind the scenes to make sure that after your teeth chew your food, the food is properly able to be digested. That’s where the salivary glands come in. Made up of the parotid, the submandibular, and the sublingual glands, the salivary glands produce saliva aiding in the breakdown of food. It also serves as a self-made mouth wash which helps rinse food particles out of your teeth.
Oral Mucosa – The Theatre Security
Oral Mucosa is similar to the theatre security in that it protects the mouth from anything harmful that enters. The Oral Mucosa is a lining inside the mouth that coats and covers everything (besides the teeth). It protects your mouth from harmful germs and pollutants much like security would protect from looters, loud audience hecklers and line cutters!
There you have it. Hopefully this illustration gives a bit of clarity on knowing and remembering the different parts of the mouth and their functions. By keeping good oral hygiene you will be able to have the best and brightest “Broadway Musical” and have your dentist give you rave reviews!
Called keratin, also found in your fingernails and hair, helps make the oral mucosa resistant to injury.