Have you ever stood in front of the mirror and said “aaagh” to get a look at your throat?
If you have, you would see a bell-like figure that hangs down at the back of your mouth. If you haven’t seen it, take a look, because it’s a fascinating structure!
That elongated, hanging structure is called a uvula. It starts from the soft palate in the mouth and is made of flexible connective tissues and muscle. The uvula can be found suspended just above the back of your tongue. It comes in different shapes and sizes. What might surprise you is that the uvula is unique to humans!
Although there may be similar structures in animals, our uvula is unlike anything found in any other creature. We will assess all tissues inside of your mouth, including your uvula, for signs of abnormal tissue growth – such as oral cancer.
What Does It Do?
It may also surprise you to find out that the uvula’s function is hotly debated and rarely agreed upon. What we do know is that the uvula may help block the nasal cavity’s passage when swallowing. It is also thought to play a role in speech. It may even play a part in snoring habits, caused by the vibration of the uvula in those who snore. Some people believe that it even impacts hyperactive gag reflexes.
The thorough examination process at our practice always involves taking a look at the surrounding structures in your mouth, so you can feel assured that your oral health is at its optimal level – including your uvula!