Know What’s Inside Your Mouth Other Than Teeth!

More than just teeth, your mouth is made up of oral mucosa, gums, upper and lower jaws, tongue, salivary glands, the uvula and the frenulum. These play an important role when it comes to good dental health and should be examined regularly for good oral care. Good oral health is simply not brushing and flossing.

Good oral care goes beyond simple brushing and flossing. Find out more about the role of each structure.

Gonzalez Dental-Simi Valley, CA

Oral Mucosa:

Oral mucosa is nothing but a protective lining which is a mucous membrane similar to the mucous membranes that line your nostrils and inner ears. This oral mucosa plays a vital role in maintaining oral health by defending the body germs entering your mouth. Keratin, a tough substance found in nails and hair also makes oral mucosa resistant to injuries.

The Gums:

The pinkish tissue that surrounds and supports your teeth is nothing but the gums. They cover the entire root of the tooth, are firm, and do not bleed when poked, brushed or prodded. Flossing of gums is as essential as brushing the teeth everyday as gum diseases can lead to tooth loss.

The Upper and Lower jaw:

The upper and lower jaws give the structure your mouth needs for chewing and digestion and also a shape to your face. The jaws are made up of several bones and both the jaws differ in structure. The upper jaw contains two bones that are fused to each other and the rest of your skull, while the lower jaw is separate from the rest of the skull, enabling it to move up and down while you chew and talk.

The Tongue:

The tongue includes taste buds and is a powerful muscle covered in special mucosal tissue. The tongue is considered to be an integral part of the digestive system which is used to transfer food to your teeth and moves it back to the throat after the food is chewed and swallowed. In infants, the tongue and the jaw work together to enable a baby to breastfeed. Tongue also plays an essential role in shaping the sounds that come out from your mouth.

The Salivary glands:

There are three sets of salivary glands in your mouth and neck which produce saliva with special enzymes that break down the food particles, making it easier for you to swallow. Saliva protects your teeth and gums by rinsing away food particles and bacteria. It also protects the enamel of your teeth by counteracting on the acidic foods.

The Uvula:

The small flap of the tissue which hangs down at the back of the throat is nothing but the Uvula. It is made up of muscle fibers as well as connective and glandular tissues. The Uvula is covered by a oral mucosa, and plays some role in keeping the mouth and the throat moist.

The Frenulum:

The flap of the oral mucosa that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth is the Frenulum. Frenulum allows the tongue to move about as it does its job. Infants born with short frenulum or not elastic enough, he or she can gave difficulty in breast feeding. Speech can also be effected with a short frenulum.


Spend a minute or two looking at the parts of the mouth that lie farther inside the oral activity while you brush the next time. To maintain optimal oral health care, it is important to know the functions of each of these structures.

How to Choose a Toothbrush

Brushing your teeth regularly is key to maintaining healthy teeth and gums and preventing periodontal (gum) diseases, but it’s also important to make sure you choose the right toothbrush for your teeth and use proper brushing techniques.


Here are some other tips to keep in mind when choosing a toothbrush. You’ll want to pick one that:

  • Has bristles that are softer rather than harder
  • Fits your mouth size. If you have a small mouth, choose a small toothbrush and if you have a large mouth, pick a large toothbrush, says Price.
  • Is easy to use, whether it’s a powered or a manual toothbrush
  • Once you’ve found an appropriate toothbrush for you, you need to brush your teeth the correct way in order to maintain good oral health and keep periodontal disease at bay.

How to Brush Your Teeth Effectively

The following tips can help you to get the most out of your daily brushing routine:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day. Some experts recommend brushing after every meal, if possible.
  • Take time — at least three minutes — to thoroughly brush and floss your teeth.
  • When you brush along your gumline, angle your toothbrush slightly toward your gums.
  • Don’t brush too roughly — use a gentle motion so you don’t damage your gums.
  • Brush with a fluoride toothpaste to fight off tooth decay.
  • Focus on cleaning every tooth surface with your toothbrush.
  • Brush your tongue to scrape off bacteria that can cause bad breath.
  • Brush your teeth with a clean toothbrush and rinse the brush thoroughly after each use. You can also use a small amount of hand soap on the bristles for more rigorous cleaning.
  • Replace your toothbrush — or toothbrush head if you use an electric brush — every three to four months.

If you need additional help figuring out how best to brush your teeth, says Price, “Have your dentist/hygienist show you the proper method.” And if you are having dental problems or concerns about your oral health, see your dentist.

Not knowing of Bad Breath

Halitosis, commonly known as bad breath.  Most people do have bad breath and no one wants to admit that. Walking around with bad breath is something most people wanted to avoid. Before you can cure bad breath, it is important to tell you have bad breath.

Bad Breath

Know the signs of Bad Breath:

Experts believe that a lot can be done to avoid bad breath. Most of the tips are quite simple to follow.

Sleeping with mouth open:

Dry mouth is the main cause for Halitosis. Never sleep with your mouth open as sleeping with your mouth open is a surefire way to dry out mouth.

Smoking or chewing tobacco:

Smoking and chewing tobacco are guaranteed to give bad breath as they decrease the amount of saliva in your mouth. Oxygen in saliva is important to keep your mouth healthy and fresh. It is advisable to quit smoking to avoid bad breath.

White-coated tongue:

White-coated tongue is a predictable sign of bad breath. White coating contains sulphur compounds that cause bad breath.

Gastric reflux:

Acid produced by Gastric reflux is not only uncomfortable but also leads to bad breath which is hard to solve. It is advisable to see a doctor to keep this under control.

Eating suspect foods:

You breathe what you eat is true. Foods like coffee, sugar, milk products, onions, garlic, acidic foods and drinks result in worse bad breath as they create an environment for the bad bacteria to grow. This should be balanced with lots of fruits, vegetables and alkalizing food products.

Certain prescriptions or OTC medication:

As a side effect, many medications cause bad breath. In such situations, you can ask your doctor for alternate medications that might help with the problem.

As now you are aware of the signs of bad breath, here’s a simple trick to test your bad breath.

Wipe the surface of your mouth with a piece of cotton gauze and smell that. If a yellow stain is noticed on the cotton, which is a likely sign for an elevated sulfide production level. Next, lick the back of your hand and allow it to dry for 10 seconds. If an odor is noticed, you have a breath disorder as the sulfur salts from your tongue has transferred to your hand.

The other approach is to take an unbiased opinion from a dentist. Most of the times, people are embarrassed to ask and at times are scared to tell. It is not always easy talking about—-Your mouth is a personal space.

Nighttime Oral Hygeine

It is just not a day job to keep your teeth strong, gums healthy and a bright smile but your mouth needs protection at night too. The bacteria in the mouth increases while we are sleeping because we are not swallowing. So, night time oral hygiene is important to avoid giving the bacteria anything to break down and feed off.

Brushing, Flossing and rinsing are the three basic steps to nighttime hygiene. As long as the food particles and the plague are removed, the order really does not matter.

Steps for basic nighttime oral hygiene:


Plague build up and tooth decay can be avoided by brushing your teeth every day.  Brush your teeth at a 45 degree angle to the gums with a soft bristled tooth brush and a tooth paste containing fluoride. As per the American Dental Association, the correct method is to brush back and forth gently in short strokes. Brushing the outer tooth surfaces first, then the inner tooth surfaces and then the chewing surfaces of the teeth is suggested by the ADA. It also recommends using the toe of the brush to clean the backs of your front teeth up and down gently.

Brushing Teeth

Brushing right after dinner, before bed or both depends upon the susceptibility to dental disease. Risk for dental disease varies from person to person. Brushing teeth after dinner and before going to bed is recommended for people with a high risk of cavities and gum diseases.


Flossing allows you to reach the plague that cannot be removed with a tooth brush. Periodontal gum diseases can be prevented by flossing at least once a day. ADA recommends using an 18 inch long strand, winding most of it around your middle fingers and holding the remaining floss tightly between your thumbs and fore fingers. Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion.


Flossing helps in removing the plague while it is still soft, as it hardens and a tartar is formed, only a professional dentist can remove it. High risk patients prone to gum disease or tartar build up, have to consider flossing twice a day.

Rinsing with a mouth wash:

Rinsing your teeth with a mouthwash will help you keep your breath fresh, your teeth plague and cavity free, your gums safe from gingivitis. For best results, follow the instructions on the package.