If you are visiting a dental care website, you probably understand the importance of your teeth. But there is a lot more going on in your mouth than just your pearly whites. Getting familiar with the other parts of your mouth and how they function paints a more complete picture of why oral care matters.
Some parts of the mouth affect your teeth and gums more than others and are crucial to preventing tooth decay and gum disease. Other parts often display symptoms of diseases such as oral cancer, providing important diagnostic clues for a dentist.
How Do My Lips, Cheeks, and Tongue Benefit My Teeth?
Your lips and cheeks contribute to everything from forming your facial expressions to breathing to speaking. They also keep food and saliva in your mouth while you chew. These strong muscles brace your teeth to keep them in proper position.
The tongue is another powerful muscle that facilitates chewing, swallowing, speaking, and tasting food. Taste buds, sensory receptors on your tongue, enable you to enjoy the food you eat. In fact, the human tongue can have up to 10,000 taste buds, which help you detect sweet, salty, bitter, and savory flavors.
The pressure that the tongue applies within the mouth helps the oral cavity maintain its shape and keeps the teeth in their proper position.
Your Gums, Alveolar Bone, and Salivary Glands Assist Your Teeth
Your mouth’s gum tissue holds your teeth in place and protects the roots from decay. You may be familiar with gum disease, and the main symptoms include swelling and chronic bleeding. These warning signs are important, because unchecked gum disease can lead to tooth and bone loss.
On the other hand, the alveolar bone is not a well-known portion of the mouth. The roots of your teeth anchor them in your jawbone. The alveolar bone surrounds the roots to stabilize the teeth.
You have six salivary glands that produce the clear liquid known as saliva, which is made up predominantly of water and contains substances that break down food to begin the digestive process. Saliva also moistens your mouth to help with speaking, chewing, and swallowing.
Plus, it washes bacteria from your teeth and gums. The proteins and minerals in saliva play a vital role in protecting the enamel, as well.
Get to Know Your Temporomandibular Joints
Here’s another part of the mouth that is rarely discussed. Your two temporomandibular joints facilitate your ability to chew, speak, and swallow. They also enable your mouth to open and close, as well as allow you to move your lower jaw forward and side to side.
These joints are located on both sides of your head near your ears and work together with your jawbone, facial muscles, and ligaments. Any disruption to the synchronization of this pair, which can happen if you grind your teeth at night, can result in facial pain, difficulty in chewing, and jaw stiffness.
When you are taking care of your teeth, make sure not to neglect other parts of the mouth. Brush your tongue, rinse with an antimicrobial mouthwash, and visit your dentist so they can check your entire mouth for signs of disease and keep your oral health in good standing.
About the Practice
Deer Park Family Dentistry believes in going above and beyond for our valued patients. From day one, our staff will strive to make you feel comfortable and appreciated. Dr. Reeves, Dr. Peck, and Dr. Tregre want to earn your trust. To learn more about their array of services, ask a general dentistry question, or to schedule an appointment, visit our website or call (281) 479-2841.