buccal cavity

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The portion of the oral cavity bounded by the lips, cheeks, and gums.vestibule of mouth
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.


What is the buccal cavity?

Buccal cavity is a scientific and anatomical term for the inside of the mouth.

Buccal means relating to the mouth—it has the same meaning as oral. In the context of anatomy, a cavity is a hollow spot inside the body.

Buccal cavity is often used synonymously with oral cavity, another scientific term for the inside of the mouth. However, the buccal cavity is sometimes more technically defined as the entry area of the oral cavity. This is sometimes called the “vestibule of the mouth”—likening it to the entrance or front lobby of the mouth.

Why is the buccal cavity important?

Ever just stop and think about the inside of your mouth? Some scientists and anatomists make a career of it (and they have better ways of saying “inside of your mouth”). Buccal cavity is a precise way of referring to the front part of the inside of the mouth, from the lips to the throat. The word buccal dates back to the early 1800s and comes from the Latin bucca, meaning “cheek.”

The term buccal cavity helps scientists discuss the mouth with more precision in the course of identifying its parts and any problems that they may have. It is surrounded by the lips, cheeks, and gums. Everything inside that general area is said to be situated within the buccal cavity. The buccal cavities of mammals, like ours, typically include tongues and teeth. Mammals also usually excrete saliva in the buccal cavity, which is a fancy way of saying they make spit. All of these things help us soften our food for consumption. The human buccal cavity also includes the hard and soft palates (the top part of your mouth) and mucous membranes that line your cheeks, which help to keep the mouth nice and damp.

Precise terms like buccal cavity are important in the context of medical terminology. They help doctors and scientists to be very specific about where things are situated.

Did you know ... ?

We often think of anatomical terms as applying mostly to humans, but the term buccal cavity applies to other creatures too, and sometimes these buccal cavities are very different. Rorqual whales, for example, have pleats that can expand the size of their buccal cavity to make it up to four times larger.

What are real-life examples of buccal cavity?

The term buccal cavity is typically only used in technical medical and anatomical contexts.


What other words are related to buccal cavity?

Quiz yourself!

Which of the following anatomical structures is NOT located in the buccal cavity?

A. teeth
B. nostrils
C. tongue
D. gums

How to use buccal cavity in a sentence