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January 25, 2012

What’s in Your Mouth?

When you look at the inside of your mouth using a mirror, what do you see? There are many components that help your mouth stay healthy and function properly. Dr. Peter Pate can explain how to keep all the parts of your mouth healthy.

The Visual Parts

When you open your mouth, you can see a number of important features::

  • Teeth: The white part of a tooth is called the crown. The roots of your teeth are located under your gums, and help attach your teeth into your jaw bone. You may notice that your teeth are different shapes and sizes to help with different parts of chewing.
  • Gums: The pinkish tissue that supports your teeth is called your gums. When you look at your mouth, your teeth are attached to your gums. Red, swollen, or bleeding gums are signs of periodontal disease, which can eventually lead to tooth loss.
  • Tongue: Your tongue is the long, pinkish muscle that rests in the bottom of your mouth. Your tongue hits your teeth to help shape sounds as you speak. The tiny bumps on the surface of your tongue contain your taste buds. Almost half of the bacteria in your mouth live on the surface of your tongue.
  • Frenulum Linguae: The frenulum is the flap you see under your tongue when you lift it up. It helps connect your tongue to the floor of your mouth and lets the tongue move freely.
  • Uvula: The flap of tissue that hangs down from the roof of your mouth near your throat is called the uvula. This muscle helps prevent food from going down your throat the wrong way and stops bacteria from entering your digestive tract.
  • Palate: The hard palate is the front part of the roof of your mouth. It is a hard, bony structure that separates your mouth from your nasal passages. The soft palate, on the other hand, is the back part of the roof of your mouth. It helps separate your mouth and your throat.

The Non-Visual Parts

There are other parts of your mouth that you can’t easily see, but are still very important. They are:

  • Bacteria: Your mouth contains hundreds of bacteria. When you eat, oral bacteria feed and reproduce off the sugars and carbs in your mouth, forming an acid that can attack your teeth. Proper oral hygiene can help reduce the amount of harmful bacteria in your mouth.
  • Oral Mucosa: Your mouth is lined with a mucous membrane that helps protect the inside of your mouth and protect against harmful bacteria that enter.
  • Salivary Glands: Your mouth has three sets of salivary glands to produce saliva. Saliva helps break down food, keep your mouth moist, and rinse away extra debris.

Dr. Pate can help keep all components of your mouth clean and healthy. Contact Dentistry in Buckhead at (404) 266-9424 to schedule an appointment.  We serve patients in Buckhead, Sandy Springs, Vinings, Atlanta, and the neighboring areas.

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