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The cheeks ( la, buccae) constitute the area of the
face The face is the front of an animal's head that features the eyes Eyes are organs An organ is a group of tissues with similar functions. Plant life and animal life rely on many organs that co-exist in organ systems. A given organ's tis ...

face
below the
eye Eyes are organs of the visual system. They provide living organisms with vision, the ability to receive and process visual detail, as well as enabling several photo response functions that are independent of vision. Eyes detect light L ...

eye
s and between the
nose A nose is a protuberance in vertebrates that houses the nostrils, or nares, which receive and expel air for Respiration (physiology), respiration alongside the mouth. Behind the nose are the olfactory mucosa and the Paranasal sinus, sinuses. Be ...
and the left or right
ear The ear is the organ of hearing and, in mammals, balance. In mammals, the ear is usually described as having three parts—the outer ear The outer ear, external ear, or auris externa is the external part of the ear, which consists ...

ear
. "Buccal" means relating to the cheek. In humans, the region is innervated by the
buccal nerve The buccal nerve (long buccal nerve) is a nerve in the face. It is a branch of the mandibular nerve (which is itself a branch of the trigeminal nerve) and transmits sensory information from skin over the buccal membrane (in general, the cheek) and ...
. The area between the inside of the cheek and the teeth and gums is called the
vestibule Vestibule or Vestibulum can have the following meanings, each primarily based upon a common origin, from early 17th century French, derived from Latin ''vestibulum, -i n.'' "entrance court". Anatomy In general, vestibule is a small space or cavity ...

vestibule
or buccal pouch or buccal cavity and forms part of the
mouth In animal anatomy Anatomy (Greek ''anatomē'', 'dissection') is the branch of biology concerned with the study of the structure of organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ὀργανισμός, ''organismos'') is ...

mouth
. In other animals the cheeks may also be referred to as
jowl The cheeks ( la, buccae) constitute the area of the face The face is the front of an animal's head that features three of the head's sense organs, the eyes, nose, and mouth, and through which animals express many of their emotions. The fa ...
s.


Structure

Cheeks are fleshy in humans, the skin being suspended by the
chin The human chin (also known as the mental protuberance, mental eminence and, rarely, mental osseum, tuber symphyseos) is the forward pointed part of the anterior mandible In anatomy Anatomy (Greek ''anatomē'', 'dissection') is the branch of ...

chin
and the
jaw The jaw is any opposable articulated structure at the entrance of the , typically used for grasping and manipulating food. The term ''jaws'' is also broadly applied to the whole of the structures constituting the vault of the mouth and serving t ...

jaw
s, and forming the lateral wall of the human mouth, visibly touching the
cheekbone In the human skull The skull is a bone structure that forms the head in vertebrates. It supports the structures of the face and provides a protective Cranial cavity, cavity for the brain. The skull is composed of two parts: the cranium and the ...
below the eye. The inside of the cheek is lined with a
mucous membrane A mucous membrane or mucosa is a biological membrane, membrane that lines various cavities in the body and covers the surface of internal organs. It consists of one or more layers of Epithelium, epithelial cells overlying a layer of loose connect ...
(buccal mucosa, part of the
oral mucosa The oral mucosa is the mucous membrane A mucous membrane or mucosa is a biological membrane, membrane that lines various cavities in the body and covers the surface of internal organs. It consists of one or more layers of Epithelium, epithelial c ...

oral mucosa
). During
mastication Chewing or mastication is the process by which food Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for an organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ὀργανισμός, ''organismos'') is any indiv ...
(chewing), the cheeks and tongue between them serve to keep the food between the teeth.


Other animals

The cheeks are covered externally by hairy skin, and internally by
stratified squamous epithelium A stratified squamous epithelium consists of squamous (flattened) epithelial cell Epithelium is one of the four basic types of animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the Kingdom (biolo ...

stratified squamous epithelium
. This is mostly smooth, but may have caudally directed papillae (e.g., in
ruminant Ruminants (suborder Ruminantia) are large ungulate, hoofed herbivorous grazing or browsing mammals that are able to acquire nutrients from plant-based food by Enteric fermentation, fermenting it in a specialized stomach prior to digestion, princi ...
s). The mucosa is supplied with secretions from the Buccal glands, which are arranged in superior and inferior groups. In carnivores, the superior buccal gland is large and discrete: the Zygomatic gland. During
mastication Chewing or mastication is the process by which food Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for an organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ὀργανισμός, ''organismos'') is any indiv ...
(chewing), the cheeks and tongue between them serve to keep the food between the teeth. Some animals such as
squirrel Squirrels are members of the family In human society A society is a Social group, group of individuals involved in persistent Social relation, social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same spatial or social terri ...

squirrel
s and
hamster Hamsters are rodent Rodents (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. ...

hamster
s use the
buccal pouch Cheek pouches are pockets on both sides of the head of some mammals between the jaw and the cheek. They can be found on mammals including the platypus, some rodents, and most monkeys, as well as the marsupial koala. The cheek pouches of chipmunks ...
to carry food or other items. 150px, Malar stripes of a Geopard cheetah In some
vertebrate Vertebrates () comprise all species of animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular A multicellular organism is an organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as an indiv ...
s, markings on the cheek area, particularly immediately beneath the eye, often serve as important distinguishing features between
species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest group of organisms in which any two individu ...

species
or
individual An individual is that which exists as a distinct entity An entity is something that exists as itself, as a subject or as an object, actually or potentially, concretely or abstractly, physically or not. It need not be of material existence. In ...
s.


Buttocks

Sometimes people refer to the buttocks as the "cheeks", because of their semi-round appearance.


Society and culture

The cheek is the most common location from which a
DNA Deoxyribonucleic acid (; DNA) is a molecule A scanning tunneling microscopy image of pentacene molecules, which consist of linear chains of five carbon rings. A molecule is an electrically Electricity is the set of physical ...

DNA
sample can be taken (during a cheek swab).


See also

*
High cheekbones In the human skull, the zygomatic bone (cheekbone or malar bone) is a paired irregular bone which articulates with the maxilla, the temporal bone, the sphenoid bone and the frontal bone. It is situated at the upper and lateral part of the face and ...
*
Blushing Blushing is the reddening of a person's face due to Psychology, psychological reasons. It is normally involuntary and triggered by emotional Stress (biology), stress associated with Passion (emotion), passion, embarrassment, shyness, anger, or Lov ...
*
Cheek augmentation Cheek augmentation is a cosmetic surgical procedure that is intended to emphasize the cheek The cheeks ( la, buccae) constitute the area of the face below the human eye, eyes and between the Human nose, nose and the left or right ear. "Buccal ...
*
Erythema infectiosum Erythema infectiosum or fifth disease is one of several possible manifestations of infection by parvovirus B19. The name "fifth disease" comes from its place on the standard list of Exanthem, rash-causing childhood diseases, which also includes m ...

Erythema infectiosum
*
Tongue-in-cheek The idiom An idiom is a phrase In everyday speech, a phrase is any group of words, often carrying a special idiomatic meaning; in this sense it is synonymous with expression. In Linguistics#Analysis, linguistic analysis, a phrase is a group of wo ...
*
Zygomatic bone In the human skull The skull is a bone A bone is a Stiffness, rigid tissue (anatomy), tissue that constitutes part of the skeleton in most vertebrate animals. Bones protect the various organs of the body, produce red blood cell, red and ...

Zygomatic bone
*
Cheek kissing Cheek kissing is a ritual or social kissing gesture to indicate friendship, family relationship, perform a greeting, to confer congratulations, to comfort someone, to show respect. Cheek kissing is very common in Southern Europe, Southern, Cen ...
* Slap cheek


References


External links

* {{Authority control Human head and neck Facial features