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Most adults spend their whole lives trying to figure out the best ways to take care of themselves. Which is why it is not necessarily surprising that many people are unaware that good oral health does not just entail a routine regimen of flossing and brushing. In fact, there are a number of areas of your mouth that are routinely checked on at dental appointments that many people don't think about when brushing their teeth.

Your mouth is more than just your teeth and gums. As a good dental practice, it is smart to know what parts of your mouth need care, and what purpose they serve to your oral hygiene. Here are some parts of the mouth – aside from your teeth – that you should routinely check up on:

Glands – Salivary glands are an important part of oral health as well as your digestive system. Your mouth and neck contain three sets of salivary glands that produce saliva. That saliva contains enzymes that break down food particles and help you swallow. The saliva also helps to protect your teeth and gums by rinsing away damaging foods and liquids.

Gums – The pink tissue that holds and protects teeth, the gums are a critical part of good overall health. According to Everyday Health, "Healthy gums are firm, cover the entire root of the tooth, and do not bleed when brushed, poked, or prodded. Gum disease can ultimately lead to tooth loss, so taking care of your gums by flossing daily is just as essential to dental care as brushing your teeth."

Jaws – The masseter muscle, or the jaw muscle, is the strongest in the body. Your jaws give shape to your face, and your mouth the ability to chew. Without these major players in the mouth, your overall health would diminish due to a lack of nutrition. Even a misalignment of the jaw can make it difficult to chew and grind food.

Oral Mucosa – This mucous membrane coats the entirety of your mouth (except for the teeth) and protects the mouth from corrosion. This layer helps protect your body from germs and irritants that may try to enter through your mouth. The best way to this membrane is to eat foods or vitamins that are rich in keratin, which feeds this film.

Tongue – The tongue is another powerful muscle that controls a lot of your daily function. Your tongue holds your taste buds, which indicate what you like and don't like to eat. It also is attached to the floor of your mouth by a thin tissue called the frenulum linguae, which – if it is too short – can inhibit your ability to speak properly. The tongue is responsible for moving food around your mouth so that you can chew and digest it, making it a critical part of your digestive system as well.

Uvula – While the uvula has long been a mystery to biologists, many now postulate that this dangling tissue at the back of the throat plays a role in speech and providing moisture to the mouth overall.

When it comes to good oral care, visiting a dentist and orthodontist can help you keep your teeth, gums and jaw in order. If you are looking for a great orthodontist in New York, contact Upper Eastside Orthodontists today!

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