Thanksgiving Day is traditionally a day to give thanks for the food collected at the end of the harvest season. All these food we are thankful for, will enjoy a brief stay in the mouth. Let’s take a moment to be mouthful of thanks of all the structures in our mouth.

I believe God created everything and he created them beautiful. Majority of the beautiful things are hidden, buried and usually require discovery and placement of value. Man is believed to be formed from earth, so I know that the creator placed 32 beautiful gems in a hole called the mouth. I have been fascinated by the comparison of the teeth with diamonds. If a diamond is forever, a tooth is forever also. So cherish the diamonds in your mouth.

Anytime someone had to visit me with toothache and all they want is the tooth extracted. I ask, “If your fingers hurt, will you amputate them?” With wide eyes, “NOOOO!!!” Most often they burst out laughing, some saying “Doctor, you paaaaa”. I slowly shake my head, and recognize that the root of the problem is there is no value placed on the natural teeth. Some go through daily teeth brushing routine, facial expressions and talking not realizing that without your mouth it will be difficult to communicate with the world.

The mouth also called Oral Cavity, or Buccal Cavity, in human anatomy, orifice through which food and air enter the body. The mouth is an interesting organ that has structures inside this small cavity, working together to provide proper nutrition and communication.

Let’s take a brief look at this structures and appreciate them on this Thanksgiving Day

Lips: Lips are the most prominent gate to the mouth. They are made up of muscles, they not only help you pout when taking selfies, they help bring a smile on your face and help convey numerous of facial expressions. It is a priced procession for most women and usually decorated several times in a day on different occasions but the lips have more important functions.

The lips are accessory for proper speech and articulation. Some letters are distinguishable only with lip movements, such as “P”, “B”, “M”, and “W”. Lips let air into your mouth for breathing and, together with cheeks, help you speak. They also keep food and saliva in your mouth while chewing.

Vestibule: After you pass through the gate (lips), the mouth has two parts; the vestibule (the area between the cheeks and the teeth) and the oral cavity proper. The vestibule is an important part of the mouth as it helps contain the food, saliva and liquids during the process of mastication; it is lined by thin layer of membrane that is lubricated by saliva.

Teeth: The chief structures and the gate keepers of the oral cavity proper are teeth. Babies have 20 of them and adults have 32 of them. Their function is to mechanically break down items of food by cutting and crushing them in preparation for swallowing and digesting.

Teeth are made of multiple tissues of varying density and hardness. Enamel is the hardest and most highly mineralized substance of the body. Teeth are among the most distinctive and long-lasting features of humans

Gums: Called Gingiva are specialized membranes which surround and support the teeth. They are directly connected to the alveolar bone holding the teeth. This soft pinkish or pigmented tissue is like the soil and the teeth are like individual plants which are planted deep into the bone. They form an integral part of the support system of the teeth, if they start to bleed or reduce in size then the stability of the tooth becomes an issue and tooth becomes mobile.

Tongue: The oral cavity proper is filled mainly with the tongue, a powerful muscle covered with specialized membranes. The tongue apart from being a sensual organ containing taste buds, it helps with speech, chewing food and creating a food bolus. A bolus is what you call the ball of chewed food that the tongue pushes into the esophagus through a swallowing motion. (Like how you direct and control the mashed cassava with your hand, during fufu pounding until it is smooth for easy swallowing)



Palate: Has two parts. The hard palate made up of bone which forms most of the roof which separates the mouth from the nasal cavity, allowing separate passages for air and for food. It is an important seal for sucking especially for babies and for speech. The soft palate is the posterior part of the roof; it is a soft and mobile tissue, which covers the nasal passages when you swallow to prevent food from entering the wrong hole.

Salivary glands secretes extracellular fluid called saliva all over the mouth, which contains enzymes, water, electrolytes, mucus, white blood cells and antimicrobial agents which help lubricate the oral cavity, moistening food, cleansing, remineralization and buffering that helps reduces the risk of tooth decay.

Tonsils are small organs in the back of the mouth and considered as lymph tissues which filter microorganisms from entering the body. Proteins called antibodies produced by the immune cells in the tonsils help kill germs and help prevent throat infections.

Temporomandibular Joint: Your ability to open and close your mouth, move your lower jaw forward and side to side, as well as chew, speak and swallow is all thanks to the temporomandibular joints (TMJ). These two joints, are located on both sides of your head and work together with your jaw bone, facial muscles and ligaments to enable you perform the movement.

Every part of the mouth is vital in providing optimal health, proper digestion, clear speech, and satisfactory quality of life. When you rise each morning and before you go to bed at night, remember you have to polish the diamonds in your mouth with fine abrasives and tools -toothpaste and brush and care for your overall oral health.

If you need further understanding or explanation on how to maintain your ‘diamonds’ and all the structures in your oral cavity properly, book an appointment with a dentist near you, and let them check it out and offer quality advice on how to maintain them.

Thanks for reading. It’s Teethlicious Thanksgiving Thursday, Be mouthful of thanks.

Stay connected to the vine, Stay Gorgeous & Stay Professional.