Oral Health Is More Than Just Caring For Your Teeth
When we think about oral health and what it takes to keep it in top condition, we mostly think about brushing and flossing. In this blog post you will find out that there is more to your mouth than just your teeth. (make this bold)
You may not have thought about it, but your mouth is made up of more than just teeth and gums. You also have:
* An upper and lower jaw
* Oral mucosa
* Your tongue
* Your salivary glands
* Your uvula (the little lightbulb in the back of your throat some call it)
* The frenulum
All of these additional parts of the mouth are important they play a vital role in your oral health and a good dentist will also inspect them during an exam.
What Is The Oral Mucosa?
Everything that is in your mouth that is not a tooth has a covering on it which acts as a protective lining. This protective lining is a mucous membrane called the oral mucosa.
The oral mucosa is important to your oral health and your overall health. It helps in defending your body against germs and other foreign irritants that enter your mouth.
The oral mucosa also contains a substance called keratin. Keratin is found in other parts of your body like your fingernails and hair. Keratin helps to make the mucosa resistant to injury.
Your Upper and Lower Jaw Are Important
Your jaws are important in several ways. First of all, they give your face its basic shape. They also help give your mouth the basic structure it needs to aid you in chewing your food and speech.
Your upper jaw is actually two bones that are fused together and to the rest of your skull. The lower of jaw, as you probably have guessed, is separate from the rest of your skull. This enables it to move up and down which gives you the ability to speak and chew.
What About Your Tongue?
Your tongue has a variety of functions and is not just important to your or oral health but also aids in and is a part of your digestive system. The tongue moves food to your teeth and then away from your teeth when it is chewed properly and is ready to be swallowed.
In babies, the tongue is important as it works in correlation with the jaw to help in breastfeeding.
Most important is the tongues role in helping you to speak. It’s your tongue that helps you form words and make specific sounds.
One of the things we do here in office is make sure your tongue is healthy. It’s one of the places we check thoroughly when we do an oral cancer screening.
The Salivary Glands
Most people have forgotten what they learned about the mouth while in school. To be honest, the salivary glands and how many we have is not something on our retention list.
Our mouth and neck has 3 sets of salivary glands. They are called:
* Sublingual glands
* Submandibular glands
* Parotoid glands
Doesn’t sound very exciting does it, but our need for these glands and for them to function correctly is imperative.
Saliva glands produce special enzymes that help break down the foods we eat so we can swallow them much easier. They saliva the glands produce also protect our teeth and gums by washing away food particles and bacteria. They also help in counteracting acids from certain foods that can wear down our enamel and lead to tooth decay.
A common problem some people have is dry mouth. This dry mouth can cause a variety of difficulties. If you are suffering with dry mouth, then you should give our office a call today as you may have a problem that could lead to other health risk.
Most people describe the uvula as that little light bulb hanging down in the back of our throat. At least that is how we describe it to most kids.
The uvula is a small flap of muscle fibers and connective glandular tissue. It is also covered by the oral mucosa. Most doctors have been puzzled by this little flap, however most agree that it has something to do with keeping the mouth moist and aiding in speech.
What Is The Frenulum?
The frenulum is a flap of oral mucosa that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth. It gives the tongue the ability to move about in the mouth and do its job.
One problem that occurs in infants is that the frenulum is not long enough or doesn’t have enough elasticity. This causes the baby to have trouble breastfeeding and even affect their speech. There is a simple laser procedure that can be done to help with this issue.
The Next Time You Brush Your Teeth
Staying on top of your oral health is important. There are several new studies that have shown conclusively that your oral health and your overall health are connected in more ways than one.
Gum disease is directly related to heart disease and stroke. That means you need to do all you can to prevent problems with your oral health from occurring.
This means regular visits to the dentist for exams and cleanings. This also means making sure you get regular oral cancer exams that can literally save your life.
If you haven’t been to the dentist in a while and you haven’t had a check-up, then call our office today and we will be glad to see you.
We are conveniently located here in Corona and we are always willing to take new patients.