The mouth, which is the first portion of the alimentary canal, receives food and begins digestion by mechanically breaking up the solid particles into smaller pieces and mixing them with saliva. This action is called mastication. The mouth also functions as an organ of speech and sensory reception. It is surrounded by the lips, cheeks, tongue, and palate and includes a chamber between the palate and tongue called the oral cavity, as well as a narrow space between the teeth, cheeks, and lips called the vestibule (fig. 17.5 and reference plate 49).

Essentials of Human Physiology

Essentials of Human Physiology

This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.

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