Lesson 2: Mouth Sidekicks

Your teeth may seem the stars of your mouth, but without a good system – the sidekicks – your mouth would not stay healthy! Your Jawbone, Gums, Tongue, Cheeks and Lips all work with your teeth and mouth to keep you chewing and smiling!


Without a jawbone you wouldn’t be able to chew or speak! The jawbone also has an important role when it comes to your teeth. The jawbone anchors your teeth in place!


Your gums are the soft fleshy, pink stuff that surrounds your teeth.
Keep your gums healthy by brushing, flossing, and eating right. Healthy gums should look firm and pink.
You don’t want unhealthy gums, which will appear red and puffy. They may even bleed when you clean them. So make sure to brush twice a day!


Your tongue is made up of a group of muscles that run in different directions to help carry out 2 different actions:

  1. Making Sounds (Talking): The tongue moves around inside the mouth to create sounds. For instance, the back of your tongue presses up against the roof of your mouth to create the ‘G’ in “Goodbye”, or the sound ‘K’ in “Kick”.
  2. Eating (Tasting, Chewing, and Swallowing): The front of your tongue is flexible; it helps you eat by moving the food around your mouth so your teeth can chew it. Your tongue moves chewed food to the back your mouth and uses its back muscles to swallow the food down your esophagus (a pipe in your throat that lets food travel from your mouth to your belly).

Did you know that your tongue has approximately 3,000-10,000 taste buds?


Your cheeks are really just skin and muscle that covers your mouth from chin to eyes! The muscles located in your cheeks are super important to the process of chewing your food; the large salivary glands (think “saliva”) in your cheeks aid in breaking down food to make for easier chewing and digestion!


Lips help us with speaking or making sounds, and are also important in creating facial expressions like Smiling or Frowning!

Your lips have other functions too! They contain many nerve endings making them a part of the touch senses, and in tandem with your cheeks your lips can suck – like when you use a straw!


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