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Oral Anatomy
 
No. 1 
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Title
by Dr. Gary Molina,DMD
    It is amazingly satirical to note that in our daily grinds, our mouth is one of the most used part in our body, yet without much thought perhaps of this question: how much do we know about our mouth and everything there is? While it is true that when we speak (function of speech) and eat (function of mastication), is it just fair enough to know all those "gizmos" moving and functioning inside harmoniously? 
    The approach toward the attitude of proper oral care could be best justified by first knowing the different parts of our mouth and everything there is. We will make our tour systematically, starting from the outside going deeper inside. It's like having a tour to a theme park, you will be my tourists and I will be your tourist guide, sort of. 
The Lip
 
                    Fig.1-1. The human lip  
    The philtrum is the canal like structure running from the bridge of the nose towards the center of the upper lip. 
    The vermilion border is, well, the border between the skin of the face and the lip. (For the ladies, it's the guideline when putting on lipstick, to put it simply.) And this is worth of a trivia: Do you know that vermilion border is found only in humans? In the anatomical point of view, the lip is not actually limited to the surface contained around the red zone, but includes the structure that surrounds it (Fig.1-2)
            Fig.1-2.  The human lip is  
           not actually limited to the 
           red zone. 
    Two different surfaces of our lips can then be differentiated: the skin of the lip and the mucous membrane (lining) of the lip, whose structure vary in apparent adaptation to functions. The skin of the lip is covered with keratinized epithelium  and its underlying tissues contains sweat glands(that's why it sweats a lot around) and hair follicles where do you think the mustache come from?) The mucous membrane (lining) of the lip on the other hand is non-keratinized, and plenty of capillary vessels (blood vessels) are brought close to the translucent surface, thus giving it a red color. This zone also contains occasional sebaceous glands and zero sweat glands. That is why it is subjected to drying and needs to be constantly moistened by the tongue. Does it has muscles? Well, you've got one there We call it the orbicularis oris muscle. 
Fig. 1-3. The orbicularis oris muscle
    It's a concentric band of muscle that loops around.  It's one part actually of the complex group of muscles for facial expression. 

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