Glossary / Definitions

Registered Dental Hygienist (dental hygienist): A licensed health care provider who works specifically in the area of prevention of diseases (does oral cancer screenings) in the mouth area and promoting oral health.

Fluoride gel: A medicine when places on the teeth that makes teeth strong and prevents dental decay.

Fluoride varnish: A sticky yellowish protective coating of 5% sodium fluoride in a resin base that is painted over the teeth to prevent dental decay.

Gland: An organ that makes one or more substances, such as hormones, digestive juices, sweat, tears, saliva, or mother's milk. For example, endocrine glands release the substances directly into the bloodstream and exocrine glands release the substances into a duct or opening to the inside or outside of the body.

Hard palate: The front, bony part of the roof of the mouth.

Nasopharynx: The part of the throat that lies behind the nose.

Oral cavity: Refers to the mouth It includes the lips, the lining inside the cheeks and lips, the front two thirds of the tongue, the upper and lower gums, the floor of the mouth under the tongue, the bony roof of the mouth, and the small area behind the wisdom teeth.

Oropharynx : The part of the throat at the back of the mouth behind the oral cavity It includes the back third of the tongue, the soft palate, the side and back walls of the throat, and the tonsils.

Osthonecrosis: The death of the bone because of the lack of blood supply to the area of the bone.

Radiation Cavities: The process of rapid tooth structure breakdown following radiation therapy.

Saliva: The watery fluid in the mouth made by the salivary glands, for example, saliva (spit) moistens food to help digestion and protects the mouth against infections.

Salivary glands: Glands that secrete saliva and lubricate the inside of the mouth.

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