Soft palate


Also known as the velum or muscular palate.

Is the soft tissue constituting the back of the roof of the mouth.

Unlke the hard palate,at the front of the mouth, it does not contain bone.

The five muscles of the soft palate play important roles in swallowing and breathing.

The muscles of the soft palate:

Tensor veli palatini, which is involved in swallowing.

Palatoglossus, also involved in swallowing.

Palatopharyngeus, involved in breathing.

Levator veli palatini, involved in swallowing.

Musculus uvulae, which moves the uvula.

Soft palate muscles are innervated by the pharyngeal plexus via the vagus nerve, with the exception of the tensor veli palatini.

The tensor veli palatini is innervated by cranial nerve 5 branch V3, the mandibular division of the trigeminal cranial nerve.

The soft palate is moveable as it consists of muscle fibers sheathed in mucous membrane.

The soft palate is responsible for closing off the nasal passages during swallowing, and also for closing off the airway.

During sneezing the soft palate protects the nasal passage by diverting a portion of the excreted substance to the mouth.

The uvula hangs from the end of the soft palate.

Touching the uvula evokes a strong gag reflex

The middle part of the tongue touching the soft palate makes a speech sound known as a velar consonant.

When the soft palate retracts and elevates during speech it can separate the oral cavity from the nasal cavity in order to produce the oral speech sounds.

When soft palate separation is incomplete, air escapes through the nose, causing nasal speech.

Lesions of the soft palate includes mucosal lesions such as pemphigus vulgaris, herpangina and migratory stomatitis, and muscular conditions such as the congenital cleft palate and cleft uvula.

Petechiae on the soft palate is a specific finding associated with streptococcal pharyngitis,

10 to 30 percent of palatal petechiae cases are estimated to be caused by suction, which can be habitual or secondary to fellatio.

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