Palate: The palate is the roof of the oral cavity. It separates the oral cavity from the nasal cavity. The anterior portion, the hard palate, is supported by bone. The posterior portion, the soft palate, is skeletal muscle and connective tissue. Posteriorly, the soft palate ends in a projection called the uvula [ ] .
The tongue is mainly composed of muscles. It is covered with a mucous membrane. Small nodules of tissue (papillae) cover the upper surface of the tongue. Between the papillae are the taste buds, which provide the sense of taste. In addition to taste, the tongue functions in moving food to aid chewing and swallowing, and it is important in speech.
There are two stages of gum disease, gingivitis and periodontitis. The first, gingivitis, is an inflammation of the gums caused by bacteria in plaque. The gums become red, swollen and bleed upon brushing. Normal bacteria in the mouth forms a thin film of plaque continuously on tooth surfaces. It's that sticky feeling on your teeth when you wake up in the morning. If plaque is not removed every day, it eventually hardens into calculus (tartar). Once calculus forms it can only be removed by your dentist or hygienist with special instruments. Gingivitis is curable with treatment from your dentist, followed by proper brushing and flossing at home.