Oral mucosa care
The oral cavity is a reflection of the state of health. That is why some changes and alterations of the oral mucosa can be related to certain systemic pathologies or vitamin deficiencies.
Functions of the oral mucosa
Just as the skin protects the body from the external environment, the oral mucosa lines the entire oral cavity, protecting it from mechanical damage, bacteria, viruses, fungi, and toxic substances. In addition, it performs other functions such as controlling and regulating the exchange of fluids and nutrients with the external environment, allowing food and drink to be tasted (thanks to the taste buds on the tongue), and producing the mucus that lubricates the mouth and saliva (via salivary glands).
Structure of the oral mucosa
The morphological structure of the oral mucosa varies, due to functional adaptation, in the different areas of the oral cavity:
- Lining mucosa: its main function is protection. This type of mucosa, formed by a non-keratinized epithelium joined to an elastic and flexible connective tissue, is distensible and adapts to contraction and relaxation. It is present on the inside of the cheeks, lips, soft palate, the ventral side of the tongue and the floor of the mouth, and represents approximately 60% of the total surface area of the oral mucosa.
- Masticatory mucosa: this type of mucosa, present in the gums and on the hard palate, is subjected to intense forces of friction and pressure caused by chewing. It is usually fixed to the bone and lacks a submucosa. It represents about 25% of the total surface of the oral mucosa.
- Specialized mucosa: it is located on the dorsal side of the tongue and receives this name because it is where the taste buds are located. It represents approximately 15% of the total oral mucosa.