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The mouth is the starting point of the digestive tract. It performs many functions, the basic of which are chewing, ingesting food and forming sounds. These are not her only tasks. What other functions does the oral cavity perform? How is the initial section of the digestive tract built? Finally, what are the most common oral diseases?

The oral cavityis the first part of the digestive system. It is primarily responsible for the ingestion, grinding and initial digestion of food. These functions can be performed thanks to the teeth and the tongue inside the oral cavity. Their work is supported by the work of the salivary glands.

Saliva is produced in both small and large salivary glands and facilitates food intake. The fragmented and moistened food goes to the next sections of the gastrointestinal tract, where it is digested and unnecessary food remains are excreted.

How is the oral cavity structured?

The mouth is the first segment of the digestive tract. From the front, the oral cavity contacts the outside world through the mouth opening, delimited by the upper and lower lips. It borders the throat towards the back. The oral cavity consists of the vestibule and the proper oral cavity.

The vestibule of the mouthis the space between the inside of the lips and cheeks and the outside of the teeth and alveolar processes covered by the gums. Small salivary glands located in the lips and cheeks drain the secretions into the vestibule of the mouth. Additionally, there are two Stenon ducts in the atrium, draining saliva from the left and right parotid glands, respectively. The orifices of these tubes are arranged symmetrically on the mucosa of the cheeks, in the area of ​​the second upper molars.

Rear from the alveolar processes of the maxilla and the alveolar part of the mandible is theproper oral cavity , passing back into the next section of the gastrointestinal tract - the pharynx. The proper oral cavity is bounded at the top by the hard palate and the soft palate at the bottom by the bottom of the mouth under the tongue. The posterior border between the mouth and throat isthroat stain .

As already mentioned from the front and sides, the proper oral cavity is bounded bymaxillary alveolar processes and the mandibular alveolar part together with the teeth. When the mouth is closed and the dental arches are compacted, the actual oral cavity contacts the vestibule of the oral cavity through the so-called the interdental space behind the molars.

There is a tongue inside the mouth. It is made of striated muscles covered with a mucosa. Thanks to its mobility, it fulfills many functions. It allows you to chew food, move crumbled food to further sections of the digestive tract or form sounds. The tongue consists of two parts, the body and the deeper, root of the tongue. The shaft is the front of the tongue and it is separated from the root of the so-called border furrow. The tissues under the tongue are calledbottom of the mouth . It consists of muscles covered with a mucosa. The mucosa of this area is thin and richly supplied with blood. Under the tongue are the mouths of the submandibular and sublingual salivary glands.

The inside of the mouthis lined with a mucosa, which is not the same in all areas of the mouth. Depending on the function, we can distinguish the chewing, lining and special mucosa. The mucosa with a special function is located on the surface of the tongue and, thanks to special receptors, it additionally enables the sensation of taste. Taste receptors are grouped into characteristic structures called taste buds.

Another characteristic feature of the oral cavity are teeth. An adult's set of teeth consists of 28-32 permanent teeth arranged in two arches (upper and lower). It consists of incisors, canines, premolars and molars. Each tooth consists of a crown protruding above the gum and a root (s) hidden in the bones of the maxilla or mandible.

Oral functions

Due to the fact that the oral cavity is the initial part of the digestive tract, its main function is to crush and prepare food for swallowing. It requires teeth that crush the food bite and the tongue, which is responsible for the even distribution and grinding of the food. Saliva is very important in the processing of a chunk of food. It moisturizes the food, making it easier to swallow and does not hurt the mucosa. Additionally, the secretion of the salivary glands is rich in a number of enzymes. One of them is salivary amylase, which is responsible for the initial digestion of starch. The food billet processed and processed in this way is ready for the next journey. In the act of swallowing, it is transferred to the next sections of the digestive system.

Another function closely related to food intake is the perception of taste. It's thanksWe enjoy eating receptors mainly on the tongue. They make us know what is sweet and what is bitter, what we like and what not.

Another very important function of the oral cavity is the formation of sounds, thanks to which we can communicate through speech. The movements of the tongue, soft palate and lips process the sounds generated on the vocal folds of the larynx, thus enabling the utterance of specific sounds.

The auxiliary function of the oral cavity is the respiratory function. Under physiological conditions, air is taken in through the nose, and then, in successive sections of the respiratory system, it goes to the lungs. When it is not possible to draw air through the nose (the cause may be, for example, a troublesome runny nose), the oral cavity supports the respiratory system and is an alternative beginning of the respiratory tract.

Major diseases of the oral cavity

Due to the very complex structure of the oral cavity, many diseases of this area can be distinguished. Dental diseases, including caries, are the most common diseases in this area. The initially harmless decalcification of the enamel results in small cavities which, if left untreated, become larger and larger. Such a condition predisposes to the development of pulp inflammation and, as a result, to pulp gangrene. The colonizing bacteria necrotic the pulp pass through the root canals to the bones in the vicinity of the root tips, and then occupy other tissues, producing the so-called tooth abscesses. Dental diseases are often very painful and therefore become the main reason for visits to the dentist's office.

Another group of diseases are periodontal diseases related to the so-called plaque. They can cause bleeding gums, loose teeth, bad breath. They are the second most common cause of tooth loss after caries.

Pathological conditions of the mucosa constitute a separate group of diseases. They take various forms, ranging from discoloration to massive tumors that interfere with normal functioning. There are many causes of diseases of the oral mucosa. These include fungal, bacterial or viral infections, mechanical, chemical injuries or birth defects.

The oral mucosa may become a place where life-threatening cancers develop. Disturbing symptoms should prompt you to visit a doctor's office as soon as possible, where a thorough diagnosis and proper treatment will be carried out.


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