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gut, alimentary canal, or gastrointestinal tract

approx 30 feet of a continuous muscular tube stretching between the mouth and anus

organs of the digestive system

oral cavity, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, small intestine and colon

accessory organs that participate in digestion but not part of the GI tract

liver, pancreas, gallbladder and salivary glands

functions of the digestive system

digest food, absorb nutrients and eliminate waste


structures in the mouth that mechanically break up food into smaller pieces during chewing


muscle that moves food within the mouth and mixes it with saliva


contains digestive enzymens to break down carbohydrates and slippery lubricants to make food easier to swallow

taste buds

found on the surface of the tongue distinguishes the bitter, sweet, sour and salty flavors of food


the roof of the mouth, subdivided into the hard palate and the soft palate

hard palate

bony anterior portion

soft palate

flexible posterior portion


hangs down from the posterior edge of the soft palate; has a role in speech production; is the location of the gag reflex


lateral walls of the oral cavity


the anterior opening of the oral cavity

gums, gingiva

combine with connective tissue to cover the jaw bone and seal off the teeth in their bony sockets

cutting teeth in the front of the mouth

incisors, cuspids, canines; bite, tear and cut food into small pieces

grinding teeth in the back of the mouth

bicuspids, premolars, molars; grind and crush food into even finer pieces


part of the tooth visible above the gum line


part of the tooth below the gum line

cementum and periodontal ligaments

anchors the root in the bony socket of the jaw


covers the crown of the tooth; hardest substance in the body


substance that makes up the main bulk of the tooth, under the enamel

pulp cavity

hollow interior of the crown

root canal

hollow interior of the root

pulp cavity and root canal contain

soft tissue made up of blood vessels, nerves and lymph vessels

deciduous teeth

baby teeth, 20 total

permanent teeth

32 total

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