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. If an infant is born with a frenulum that is too short, or not elastic enough, he or she can have trouble breastfeeding. A short frenulum can also affect speech.
The tongue is a powerful muscle covered in specialized mucosal tissue that includes your taste buds. The tongue is not just important to your oral health — it's also considered an integral part of the body's digestive system — it's responsible for moving food to your teeth, and when chewed food is ready to be swallowed, the tongue moves it to the back of the throat so it can proceed into the esophagus. In babies, the tongue and the jaw work together to enable the infant to breastfeed.Additionally, the tongue plays an essential role in the ability to speak by shaping the sounds that come out of your mouth.
The uvula is the small flap of tissue which hangs down at the back of your throat. The uvula is composed of muscle fibers as well as connective and glandular tissues. Like other soft tissue structures in the mouth, the uvula is covered by oral mucosa. The uvula has long been a source of curiosity for scientists as 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 Salivary Glands
You have three sets of salivary glands in your mouth and neck: the parotid, submandibular, and sublingual glands. These glands produce saliva, which contains special enzymes that help break down food, making it easier for you to swallow. Saliva is critical to good oral health, because 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 next time you’re brushing your teeth, spend a minute looking at the parts of the mouth that lie farther inside the oral cavity. Knowing what these structures do and what they look like about the dental equipment can help you to maintain optimal oral health.