In human anatomy, the mouth is the first portion of the alimentary canal that receives Food, food and produces saliva. The oral mucosa is the mucous membrane epithelium lining the inside of the mouth. In addition to its primary role as the beginning of the digestive system, in humans the mouth also plays a significant role in communication. While primary aspects of the voice are produced in the throat, the tongue, lips, and human mandible, jaw are also needed to produce the range of sounds included in speech. The mouth consists of two regions, the vestibule and the oral cavity proper. The mouth, normally moist, is lined with a mucous membrane, and contains the human teeth, teeth. The lips mark the transition from mucous membrane to human skin, skin, which covers most of the human body, body.


Oral cavity

The mouth consists of two regions: the vestibule and the oral cavity proper. The vestibule is the area between the teeth, lips and cheeks. The oral cavity is bounded at the sides and in front by the alveolar process (containing the human teeth, teeth) and at the back by the isthmus of the fauces. Its roof is formed by the hard palate at the front, and the soft palate at the back. The palatine uvula, uvula projects downwards from the middle of the soft palate at its back. The floor is formed by the mylohyoid muscles and is occupied mainly by the tongue. A mucous membrane – the oral mucosa, lines the sides and under surface of the tongue to the gingiva, gums, and lines the inner aspect of the jaw (human mandible, mandible). It receives secretions from the submandibular gland, submandibular and sublingual gland, sublingual salivary glands.


The lips come together to close the opening of the mouth, forming a line between the upper and lower lip. In Lip#Facial expression, facial expression, this ''mouth line'' is iconically shaped like an up-open parabola in a smile, and like a down-open parabola in a frown. A ''down-turned mouth'' means a mouth line forming a down-turned parabola, and when permanent can be normal. Also, a ''down-turned mouth'' can be part of the presentation of Prader-Willi syndrome.

Nerve supply

The Human tooth, teeth and the periodontium (the Tissue (biology), tissues that support the teeth) are innervated by the maxillary nerve, maxillary and mandibular nerve, mandibular nerves – divisions of the trigeminal nerve. Maxillary (upper) teeth and their associated periodontal ligament are innervated by the superior alveolar nerves, branches of the maxillary division, termed the posterior superior alveolar nerve, anterior superior alveolar nerve, and the variably present middle superior alveolar nerve. These nerves form the superior dental plexus above the maxillary teeth. The mandibular (lower) teeth and their associated periodontal ligament are innervated by the inferior alveolar nerve, a branch of the mandibular division. This nerve runs inside the mandible, within the mandibular canal, inferior alveolar canal below the mandibular teeth, giving off branches to all the lower teeth (inferior dental plexus). The oral mucosa of the gingiva (gums) on the Commonly used terms of relationship and comparison in dentistry, facial (labial) aspect of the maxillary incisors, canine tooth, canines and premolar teeth is innervated by the superior labial branches of the infraorbital nerve. The posterior superior alveolar nerve supplies the gingiva on the facial aspect of the maxillary molar (tooth), molar teeth. The gingiva on the palate, palatal aspect of the maxillary teeth is innervated by the greater palatine nerve apart from in the incisor region, where it is the nasopalatine nerve (long sphenopalatine nerve). The gingiva of the tongue, lingual aspect of the mandibular teeth is innervated by the sublingual nerve, a branch of the lingual nerve. The gingiva on the facial aspect of the mandibular incisors and canines is innervated by the mental nerve, the continuation of the inferior alveolar nerve emerging from the mental foramen. The gingiva of the buccal (cheek) aspect of the mandibular molar teeth is innervated by the buccal nerve (long buccal nerve).


The philtrum is the vertical depression formed between the ''philtral ridges'' between the upper lip and the nasal septum, formed where the nasomedial and maxillary processes meet during human embryogenesis, embryo development. When these processes fail to fuse fully, a cleft lip, cleft palate, or both can result. The nasolabial folds are the deep creases of tissue that extend from the nose to the sides of the mouth. One of the first signs of age on the human face is the increase in prominence of the nasolabial folds.


The mouth plays an important role in eating, drinking, and speaking. Mouth breathing refers to the act of breathing through the mouth (as a temporary backup system) if there is an obstruction to Obligate nasal breathing, breathing through the nose, which is the designated breathing organ for the human body. Infants are born with a Primitive reflexes#Sucking reflex, sucking reflex, by which they instinctively know to suck for nourishment using their lips and jaw. The mouth also helps in chewing and biting food. For some disabled people, especially many disabled artists, who through illness, accident or congenital disability have lost dexterity, their mouths take the place of their hands, when typing, texting, writing, making drawings, paintings and other works of art by maneuvering brushes and other tools, in addition to the basic oral functions. Mouth painters hold the brush in their mouth or between their teeth and maneuver it with their tongue and cheek muscles, but mouth painting can be strenuous for neck and jaw muscles since the head has to perform the same back and forth movement as a hand does when painting. A male mouth can hold, on average, , while a female mouth holds .Nascimento WV1, Cassiani RA, Dantas RO., 2012, "Gender effect on oral volume capacity", Dysphagia, 27(3):384-9.

See also

* Head and neck anatomy * Mouth breathing * Index of oral health and dental articles * List of basic dentistry topics

Further reading



External links

* * {{Authority control Facial features Mouth Human anatomy, Mouth Human head and neck Speech organs Human mouth anatomy Digestive system