QS Study

The soft palate is a movable, muscular fold, suspended from the posterior border of the hard palate. It is located posteriorly. It is mobile and comprised of muscle fibers covered by a mucous membrane. The soft palate is a movable, muscular fold suspended from the posterior border of the hard plate.

Structure –

The soft palate is composed of –

(1) Mucous membrane: Which covers the upper & lower surface of the soft palate. The oral surface of the soft palate is thicker and lined by non-keratinized stratified squamous epithelium.

(2) Palatine aponeurosis: It is a fibrous sheet attached to the posterior border of the hard palate.

(3) Muscles:

  1. Tensor veil palatine.
  2. Levator veli palatine.
  3. Palatoglossus.
  4. Palatopharyngeus.
  5. Musculus uvulae.

The nasal surface of the soft palate is covered by pseudostratified ciliated columnar epithelium with the exception of posteriorly that is lined by non-keratinized stratified squamous epithelium.

Functions –

  1. The soft palate is a movable muscular fold which separates the nasopharynx from the oropharynx.
  2. It acts as a traffic controller at the crossroads between the food and air passages. So it blocks the opening of the air passage when taking food and vice versa.
  3. Uvula takes part in the phonation and modifies the quality of the voice.
  4. During sneezing, it divides the air into the nasal and oral cavities without damaging the narrow nose.
  5. Shields the damage of nasal mucosa during sneezing, by suitably breaking up and directing the gust of air via both nasal and oral cavities.
  6. Prevents the entrance of sputum into the nose during coughing by directing it in the oral cavity.
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