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Tooth and Mouth Anatomy: How Do These Contribute to Good Health?

Tooth and Mouth Anatomy: How Do These Contribute to Good Health?

Studies have even shown that there’s a significant connection between oral health and overall health. This means that cardiovascular diseases and even pneumonia are linked to oral health. Complications within it could contribute to these conditions. In this article, we explore tooth and mouth anatomy and the purposes of your mouth and teeth.

tooth and mouth anatomy

Our Tooth and Mouth Anatomy

We’re often told to keep our mouths healthy because it’s an asset and helps give us better confidence whenever we interact with others. However, the main purpose of the mouth as a cavity is for processing food as part of the digestive process. In fact, the entire tooth and mouth anatomy is in place to help fulfill this purpose.

Parts of the Mouth

The mouth is a cavity housed in the skull and its main function is eating and speaking. It’s lined by mucous membranes that keep the mouth moist.

The roof of the mouth, called the palate, is covered by mucous membranes and is segmented into different parts. The bony, front part of the palate is called the hard palate. Its purpose is to divide the nasal cavity and the mouth.

The fleshy, back part is called the soft palate and it separates the mouth and the throat. The soft palate closes off the nasal passage when you swallow so that food won’t enter into the nasal cavity. The soft palate also houses the uvula, which is the dangling flesh at the back of the mouth. The tonsils are situated on either side of the uvula to hold up the throat’s opening.

At the bottom of the mouth and extending from the floor is a group of muscles called the tongue. The top of the tongue is covered by tiny bumps that contain the tastebuds, called the papillae. Our tastebuds can sense sweetness, saltiness, sourness, and bitterness.

Salivary glands, as the name suggests, are glands that secrete saliva or spit. These glands can be found on the floor of the mouth, under the tongue, and the walls of the mouth. Saliva is useful in digesting. It moistens the mouth to make chewing and swallowing easier and contains enzymes that break down food as well.

tooth and mouth anatomy

Parts of a Tooth

Just like the mouth, the parts and types of teeth also show that tooth and mouth anatomy are strategic and functional for digestion and communication. As humans, we develop two sets of teeth. The first set of 20 deciduous teeth start developing before birth and start falling out around the age of 6. These teeth are also called baby, milk, primary, or temporary teeth. After this, a set of 32 permanent teeth grow in as secondary or adult teeth.

Types of Teeth

At the very front are the four incisors at the top and four at the bottom. Incisors are sharp teeth that often look very angular or square-like. Their purpose is to cut food through biting.

On either side of the incisors are sharp teeth called canines. They’re usually pointed and act as teeth that help pierce food better than the incisors with the upper ones being called cuspids or eyeteeth.

A bit further to the back are the premolars or the bicuspids that grind and mash food. There are four pairs of premolars situated on either side and of either jaw.

Behind the premolars are 12 molars that come in threes. These are called the first, second, and third molars and what they do is chew food to even finer and smaller pieces. The third molars, sometimes called wisdom teeth, could be removed because they could crowd out other teeth and cause problems like pain or infection.

Teeth Anatomy

Regardless of their type, the parts of each tooth remain the same. Each tooth has an outer layer called the enamel, which is the hardest material in the body, to allow for the teeth to be strong enough to chew. The dentin is the layer that follows as you go inwards, this makes up the main part of the tooth and causes the yellowish tint of teeth.

Housed in the dentin is the pulp where the nerves and blood vessels of the tooth are located. This is usually where you feel “ngilo” or tooth sensitivity because the nerves and blood supply are part of the pulp. The pulp chamber is found in a bundle at the crown of your tooth and flows down into the root canal that is housed at the bottom part of the tooth and within your gums.

At the very bottom and housed in your gums is the root of each tooth which secures it firmly into the jaw. It’s covered by a layer of cementum, which is similar in material to the dentin because it’s as hard as bone.

Key Takeaways

Every part of your mouth and even each layer of your tooth is there to help you smile, speak, and eat well. By brushing, flossing, and visiting the dentist, you can take care of your mouth to make sure that the tooth and mouth anatomy work and serve their purpose to the fullest!

Learn more about Oral Health here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Anatomy and Development of the Mouth and Teeth, https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=anatomy-and-development-of-the-mouth-and-teeth-90-P01872, Accessed Feb 20, 2021

Mouth and Teeth, https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/mouth-teeth.html, Accessed Feb 20, 2021

Dental Health, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/dental/art-20047475, Accessed Feb 20, 2021

Healthy Smile, https://www.dentalhealth.org/healthysmile, Accessed Feb 20, 2021

Healthy Gums and Healthy Body, https://www.dentalhealth.org/healthy-gums-and-healthy-body, Accessed Feb 20, 2021

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Written by Ruby Anne Hornillos Updated Jun 14
Medically reviewed by Grazielle Millo-Paderes, DDM, MSc