What is the human mouth?

The National Library of Medicine‘s definition of the human mouth: “The oral cavity, or more commonly known as the mouth or buccal cavity, serves as the first portion of the digestive system.”


Riverside Cosmetic Dentist – Dr. Ali Shmara defines the human mouth as:

The human mouth, also known as the oral cavity, is bounded by lips externally and contains the tongue, teeth, and gums internally. The mouth serves as the primary entry point for food and fluids into the body and is involved in various functions such as chewing, swallowing, speaking, and tasting.

The mouth is lined with mucous membranes that are moist and sensitive, aiding in the process of chewing and swallowing. It contains structures like the tongue, teeth, salivary glands, and tonsils, each playing a specific role in functions such as mastication (chewing), speech articulation, and digestion.

The mouth also serves as the beginning of the digestive system, where mechanical and chemical digestion of food begins. Saliva, produced by salivary glands located within the mouth, contains enzymes that start breaking down carbohydrates in food, preparing them for further digestion in the stomach and intestines.

What is the human mouth composed of?

The human mouth is composed of various structures that work together to facilitate speech, chewing, swallowing, and the initial stages of digestion. Here’s an overview of the anatomy and structure of the mouth:


The lips are the fleshy structures that surround the opening of the mouth. They consist of muscle and sensitive tissue, helping to manipulate food during eating and aiding in speech formation.


Oral Cavity:

The oral cavity is the hollow space inside the mouth. It includes the space between the lips, cheeks, gums, teeth, and the entrance to the throat (pharynx).



The human mouth typically contains 32 teeth, including incisors, canines, premolars, and molars. Teeth are responsible for biting, chewing, and grinding food into smaller pieces to aid in digestion.


Gums (Gingiva):

The gums are the soft tissue that surrounds and supports the teeth. They help to hold the teeth in place and protect the underlying bone.



The tongue is a muscular organ located on the floor of the mouth. It is essential for tasting, swallowing, and speaking. The upper surface of the tongue is covered in papillae, which contain taste buds.


Salivary Glands:

Salivary glands produce saliva, which helps to moisten food, facilitate swallowing, and initiate the digestion process. There are three main pairs of salivary glands: the parotid glands, submandibular glands, and sublingual glands.



The palate separates the oral cavity from the nasal cavity. It consists of two parts: the hard palate (bony structure) and the soft palate (muscular structure). The palate plays a role in speech production and swallowing.



The uvula is a small, fleshy structure hanging down from the soft palate. It helps to prevent food from entering the nasal cavity during swallowing.



Tonsils are collections of lymphoid tissue located at the back of the mouth and throat. They play a role in the immune system, helping to fight off infections.


Jawbone (Mandible):

The jawbone supports the lower teeth and forms the lower part of the mouth. It is essential for chewing and speaking.