The oral cavity and pharynx

Published on June 30, 2020   46 min
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The Oral Cavity and Pharynx by Bernard Moxham, Cardiff University, United Kingdom.
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Let's begin with the oral cavity, or mouth. The oral cavity extends from the external environment at the lips to the pharynx at the back of the mouth, or the oropharyngeal isthmus. Actually, there are two parts to the oral cavity. In front of the teeth and behind the lips and cheeks lies the vestibule of the mouth. Behind the teeth is the oral cavity proper. With regard to the boundaries of the oral cavity, anteriorly we have the lips, laterally to the sides we have the cheeks, or bucci. The roof of the mouth is made up of the palate, a hard palate at the front and at the back a soft palate which is movable. At the floor of the mouth, you have a floor of the mouth proper underneath the tongue, and obviously, a large part of the floor of mouth is occupied by the tongue.
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The functions of the oral cavity. The primary function of the oral cavity is, firstly, the selection of food via taste, yes, but also, of course, via smell and sight. Having selected the food, then the mouth ingests the food, takes the food in, masticates the food, chews it, and swallows the food so that it goes down to the rest of the digestive tract. But there are secondary functions. There is speech, breathing, and for many animals there is predation, defense and offense, using the teeth. Now in many of these functions, the tongue has a very important part to play.