The hard and soft palates make up the roof of the mouth. The soft palate sits at the back of the mouth, behind the hard palate, which holds the teeth and gums.
The soft palate does not contain any bone but is a fleshy area that ends in the uvula. The uvula is the fleshy projection that hangs down from the soft palate and is visible when a person opens their mouth. The function of the uvula is to block the nasal cavity when a person is eating or drinking.
The soft palate comprises muscle and tissue, which make it mobile and flexible. When a person is swallowing or sucking, the soft palate completely separates the mouth from the throat, which helps keep food out of the respiratory tract. The soft palate is also known as the muscular palate or the velum.
- Written by:
- Christine Frank
- Factcheck, Health