So if you look in the mirror and look inside your mouth you are going to see a black bit at the back, some pink bits and some white bits decorating the pink bits. When I say white, I should maybe say ivory slash yellowish.
The black hole at the back; that’s where the food goes. This step is pretty key and it’s the main point of your mouth. Your mouth is there to prepare your food to be swallowed. Once your food is prepared and swallowed, it becomes your fuel so that you can do everything from walking to watching the telly box. The pink and white bits in your mouth are all there to prepare whatever you put in it to go down that black chute. (I did warn you that this was basic.)
So then you have a big wobbly, wriggling pink bit which is called a tongue. Your tongue is there to help move the food around in the chewing process and then form a nice little lump of mush to then be swallowed. The tongue will partly help with chewing by working food against the roof of your mouth (palate) and moving it around your mouth. It’s covered in taste buds that help you taste (obviously). It is also there to help you make sounds when you speak. You will most likely do it without even realising but take a moment to think about what your tongue is doing when you speak. Make an ‘L’ sound. Can you feel how the tip of your tongue is lifting up to touch your palate? You do that with a few sounds. I’m doing it at the start of the ‘D’ sound. I’m not sure what I’m doing to make a ‘K’ but my tongue is doing something. Make an ’S’ sound and you will feel your tongue making a small space for air to squeeze through. It’s quite amazing what you are automatically doing with your mouth when you speak. Try making a few sounds and think about what your tongue is doing when you make that sound. Disclaimer: I will not be held responsible for you looking a bit silly if you are going to try this on the train in a packed carriage.
Sticking with the subject of speech, your lips also come in very handy when talking. Think about ‘M’ sounds and ‘B’ sounds. Your lips form the opening to your mouth. They help with the chewing process by holding all your tasty treats in. Chew with your mouth closed as you were always taught and you will hang onto 100% of that ginger nut biscuit. Forget the importance of your lips at your peril. The other important thing that your lips do is to move when you smile.
So that’s it. The lips are the gateway to your mouth. Your tongue is for tasting, swallowing and then down the hatch goes your food. Lips and tongue for speaking. You may not have realised what an important job your mouth does.
But what about your teeth?