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5 Parts of the Mouth and How They Function

December 21, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — drflenniken @ 3:51 pm
A woman with her mouth open, showing her teeth, tongue and lips

Did you know that the strongest muscle in your body is part of your mouth, and it’s not your tongue? There is a lot more to your mouth than just eating, drinking and speaking. Keep reading to learn about 5 different parts of the mouth and their functions. 

Salivary Glands

Your saliva is produced by six salivary glands. You have two glands overlapping your jaw near your ear, two located underneath your jaw, and two under your tongue. Saliva consists of water, protein and minerals that assist with digestion, but it also neutralizes and washes away the acids created by cavity-causing bacteria. It also keeps your mouth moist so that you can eat, swallow and talk.

Lips and Cheeks

The lips and cheeks present your facial expressions, allow you to pucker up for kisses and help you speak. Your lips also keep saliva and food from exiting your mouth while you eat and let air enter your mouth.

Teeth, Gums, and Alveolar Bone

Enamel, the hardest material in your body, protects your teeth as they tear and chew food into small pieces that your body can digest. Your teeth also give your face shape and help you pronounce words and sounds. They are rooted in your alveolar bone, which stabilizes them while your gums hold them in place and protect their roots from decay.


Though it’s not the strongest muscle in your body, your tongue is definitely one of the hardest working muscles. It is comprised of groups of muscles that are always working, very similar to the heart. Though you may not be using it to speak or eat, your tongue is constantly pushing saliva down your throat, even while you sleep! Your tongue also houses about 10,000 taste buds that give you the ability to taste salty, sweet, savory and bitter flavors.

The Masseter Muscle

The strongest muscle in the body is in fact the masseter muscle. It runs through the rear part of the mouth from the lower part of the skull to the lower jaw. This muscle gives you the ability to open and close your mouth and can clinch the teeth with a force as strong as 200 pounds.

The best way to keep each of these components working properly is to practice good dental hygiene. Brushing twice a day, flossing and visiting your dentist regularly will help keep your mouth healthy and strong for many years to come.

About the Practice

Drs. Neil Flenniken and Suzan Rismani-Flenniken and their skilled team of dentists are committed to providing each patient with dental care that exceeds their expectations. In addition to offering preventive dentistry, Flenniken Family Dentistry offers restorative dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, sedation dentistry for those with dental anxiety and more. For more information, visit the website or contact the office at (717) 249-7777 to schedule your visit.

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