We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Oral Mucosa?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Oral mucosa is a specialized type of tissue that lines the mouth. This tissue is designed to provide protection for the body from infection and debris, and it is capable of producing secretions such as mucus, in addition to absorbing materials introduced into the mouth. The trait of absorption is used to apply certain types of medications, such as oral vaccines.

Three different types of oral mucosa can be found in the mouth. Around the tongue, cheeks, and hard palate, the tissue is keratinized so that it can withstand the abrasiveness of chewing. Other areas have non-keratinized tissue, which is more fragile and requires moist secretions to stay healthy. The taste buds are made from a third type of highly specialized tissue. Similar types of mucus membranes can be found in other regions of the body, such as the eyes and genitals.

The color of the oral mucosa can vary, depending on the skin color of the body. In some people, it is a pale pink, while others have darker pink to brown tissue. Extremely pale mucosa can be a sign that someone is anemic, while patchy or dark ones can be signs of a medical problem. A classic problem that develops with the oral mucosa is leukoplakia, in which white plaques of material appear in the mouth.

Because the tissue inside the mouth is constantly abraded, it is composed of squamous cells, flattened cells that adhere in layers to a basement membrane. These cells can be easily scraped away without reaching this membrane, and they grow back quickly to repair minor cuts and abrasions. Like other types of tissue in the body, those in the mouth can become cancerous, with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) being the most common form of cancer that appears in this location.

The only area of the mouth not covered by the oral mucosa is the teeth. In some people, the gums that normally protect the base of the teeth can recede, exposing the jaw and teeth roots to the risk of infection and other problems. Receding gums are associated with periodontal disease, a dental condition that can have a number of causes. It is important for individuals to get treatment for all infections and disease in the mouth, because the mucus lining is vulnerable to damage, and it can provide a conduit for infections to enter other areas of the body because of its absorbability.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a The Health Board researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon357212 — On Dec 02, 2013

I have a tear in my palatoglossal. Does the mucosa or soft tissue grow back?

By pharmchick78 — On Jul 23, 2010

@googlefanz -- Oral leukoplakia is the most commonly occurring premalignant problem with the oral mucosa.

What happens is a part of the oral mucosa becomes hyperkeratinized, which makes it hard, forming a kind of white plaque that won't come off.

Although there is no exact known cause for oral leukoplakia, it is much more common in old people than in young and in smokers and heavy drinkers.

Oral leukoplakia often precedes oral cancer, particularly squamous cell carcinoma, and should not be taken lightly.

Anyone with oral leukoplakia, or other lesions on the oral mucosa should contact their healthcare provider immediately for an oral cancer screening.

By googlefanz — On Jul 23, 2010

Does anyone know anything about leukoplakia on the oral mucosa? I have a biology project due and need some info!

By pharmchick78 — On Jul 23, 2010

One kind of gross thing that can happen to the oral mucosa is oral lichen planus.

This is a chronic inflammatory disease that shows up as white streaks or blisters on the mucosa. It can be caused by some medications, but also seems to have a genetic factor.

Although lichen planus on the oral mucosa is not in itself dangerous, it is considered precancerous, and should be checked out as soon as possible by a dentist to avoid the risk of oral cancer.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.