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Beyond Teeth: What Exactly is in Your Mouth?

Good oral health goes beyond brushing and flossing. Your mouth plays many more roles than you think. But what is actually in your mouth? Well, In addition to your teeth, your mouth is made up with gums, oral mucosa, upper and lower jaw, the tongue, salivary glands, the uvula, and the frenulum.

Oral Mucosa

If you are looking in a mirror and open your mouth, everything you see that isn’t a tooth, is covered by a protective lining called oral mucosa. It’s a mucous membrane similar to the mucous membranes that line the inside of your ears and nostrils. The oral mucosa plays a huge role in maintaining oral health, and as well overall health. It defends and protects the body from germs that enter the mouth, as well contains keratin – also found in your hair and fingernails, helps make the mucosa resistant to injury.


The pinkish tissue surrounding and supporting your teeth, it is covered in oral mucosa. Healthy gums are firm, cover the entire root of the tooth, and don’t bleed when flossed, poked, prodded, and brushed.

Upper and Lower Jaw

Your jaws give your face its shape and your mouth the structure it needs for chewing and speech. The human jaws are made up of several bones: The upper jaw contains two bones that are fused to each other and to the rest of your skull, while the lower jawbone is separate from the rest of the skull, enabling it to move up and down when you speak and chew.


A powerful muscle in the body, it is covered in specialized mucosal tissue, which includes your musical tissue. The tongue plays an integral role in the body’s digestive system, it moves food to your teeth, and when ready to be swallowed, it moves it to the back of your throat to then proceed into the esophagus. The tongue also plays an integral role in speech, and the sounds coming from your mouth.

Salivary Glands

You have three sets of glands in your mouth and neck: the parotid, submandibular, and sublingual glands. All three glands produce saliva, which contains special enzymes that help break down food, making it easier for you to swallow. It protects your teeth and gums by rinsing away food particles and bacteria and by helping to counteract acidic foods that can wear down the protective enamel on your teeth.


The uvula is the small bit of tissue which hangs down at the back of your throat. The uvula is composed of muscle fibres as well as connective and glandular tissues. The uvula is covered by oral mucosa, like other soft tissue structures in the mouth. All of its functions are not yet fully understood, however it seems to play some role in speech and in keeping the mouth and throat moist.

The Frenulum Linguae

The frenulum is a flap of oral mucosa that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth. This tissue allows the tongue to move about as it does its job. A short frenulum can also affect speech.