The palate /ˈpælɪt/ is the roof of the mouth in humans and other mammals. It separates the oral cavity from the nasal cavity.[1] A similar structure is found in crocodilians, but in most other tetrapods, the oral and nasal cavities are not truly separate. The palate is divided into two parts, the anterior bony hard palate and the posterior fleshy soft palate (or velum).[2][3]

Illu01 head neck
Head and neck.
Palate exhibiting torus palatinus.
Anatomical terminology



The maxillary nerve branch of the trigeminal nerve supplies sensory innervation to the palate.


The hard palate forms before birth.


If the fusion is incomplete, it is called a cleft palate.


When functioning in conjunction with other parts of the mouth the palate produces certain sounds, particularly velar, palatal, palatalized, postalveolar, alveolo-palatal, and uvular consonants.[4]



The English synonyms palate and palatum, and also the related adjective palatine (as in palatine bone), are all from the Latin palatum via Old French palat, words that, like their English derivatives, refer to the "roof of the mouth."[5]

The Latin word palatum and its derivatives mentioned above are all unrelated to a similar-sounding Latin word meaning palace, palatium, from which other senses of palatine and the English word palace itself derive.[6]

As the roof of the mouth was once considered the seat of the sense of taste, palate can also refer to this sense itself, as in the phrase "a discriminating palate". By further extension, the flavor of a food (particularly beer or wine) may be called its palate, as when a wine is said to have an oaky palate.

See also


  • Saladin, Kenneth (2010). Anatomy and Physiology: The Unity of Form and Function. New York: McGraw Hill. p. 256.
  • Thompson, Gale (2005–2006). World of Anatomy and Physiology. Thompson Corporation. pp. Palate (Hard and Soft Palate).


  1. ^ Wingerd, Bruce D. (1811). The Human Body Concepts of Anatomy and Physiology. Fort Worth: Saunders College Publishing. p. 166. ISBN 0-03-055507-8.
  2. ^ Wingerd, Bruce D. (1994). The Human Body Concepts of Anatomy and Physiology. Fort Worth: Saunders College Publishing. p. 478. ISBN 0-03-055507-8.
  3. ^ Goss, Charles Mayo (1966). Gray's Anatomy. Philadelphia: Lea & Febiger. p. 1172.
  4. ^ Goss, Charles Mayo (1966). Gray's Anatomy. Philadelphia: Lea & Febiger. p. 1201.
  5. ^ Harper, Douglas. "palate (the entry for)". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 10 September 2011. palate - late 14c., 'roof of the mouth,' from O.Fr. palat, from L. palatum 'roof of the mouth,' perhaps of Etruscan origin. Popularly considered the seat of taste, hence transferred meaning 'sense of taste' (1520s).
  6. ^ Harper, Douglas. "palatine (the entry for)". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 10 September 2011. palatine (adj.) - mid-15c., from M.Fr. palatin (15c.), from M.L. palatinus 'of the palace' (of the Caesars), from L. palatium (see palace). Used in English to mean 'quasi-royal authority.' Reference to the Rhineland state is from c.1580.
Bean's sawtooth eel

The Bean's sawtooth eel (Serrivomer beanii, also known commonly as the longfin sawpalate, the saw-tooth snipe eel, the sawtooth eel, the shortnosed snipe eel, and the stout sawpalate) is an eel in the family Nemichthyidae (snipe eels). It was described by Theodore Gill and John Adam Ryder in 1883. It is a marine, deep water-dwelling eel which is known from throughout the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean, and the Western Pacific Ocean, including Iceland, South Africa (the Cape and Natal), Réunion, and Australia. It dwells at a depth range of 0–5998 metres, and leads a solitary lifestyle. It migrates vertically at night. Males can reach a maximum total length of 78 centimetres.The species epithet "beanii" was given in honour of American ichthyologist Tarleton Hoffman Bean. The Bean's sawtooth eel feeds primarily on benthic crustaceans including shrimps, and finfish. It is preyed upon by the Warty oreo (Allocyttus verrucosus). It is of no commercial interest to fisheries.

Cleft lip and cleft palate

Cleft lip and cleft palate, also known as orofacial cleft, is a group of conditions that includes cleft lip (CL), cleft palate (CP), and both together (CLP). A cleft lip contains an opening in the upper lip that may extend into the nose. The opening may be on one side, both sides, or in the middle. A cleft palate is when the roof of the mouth contains an opening into the nose. These disorders can result in feeding problems, speech problems, hearing problems, and frequent ear infections. Less than half the time the condition is associated with other disorders.Cleft lip and palate are the result of tissues of the face not joining properly during development. As such, they are a type of birth defect. The cause is unknown in most cases. Risk factors include smoking during pregnancy, diabetes, obesity, an older mother, and certain medications (such as some used to treat seizures). Cleft lip and cleft palate can often be diagnosed during pregnancy with an ultrasound exam.A cleft lip or palate can be successfully treated with surgery. This is often done in the first few months of life for cleft lip and before eighteen months for cleft palate. Speech therapy and dental care may also be needed. With appropriate treatment, outcomes are good.Cleft lip and palate occurs in about 1 to 2 per 1000 births in the developed world. CL is about twice as common in males as females, while CP without CL is more common in females. In 2013, it resulted in about 3,300 deaths globally, down from 7,600 deaths in 1990. The condition was formerly known as a "hare-lip" because of its resemblance to a hare or rabbit, but that term is now generally considered to be offensive.


Eutheriodontia is a clade of therapsids that includes therocephalians and cynodonts. The clade was erected in 1986, and a close relationship between therocephalians and cynodonts has been recognized for many years. Therocephalians and cynodonts are thought to have diverged in the Middle Permian, and each group independently evolved mammal-like features, including a secondary palate and the loss of a postorbital bar (these features were retained in mammals, which are considered a derived group of cynodonts). Mammalian features that both groups inherited from a common ancestor include the loss of teeth on the palate, the expansion of the epipterygoid bone at the base of the skull (an area called the alisphenoid in mammals), and the narrowing of the skull roof to a narrow sagittal crest running between large temporal openings.

Hard palate

The hard palate is a thin horizontal bony plate made up of two bones of the facial skeleton, located in the roof of the mouth. The bones are the palatine process of the maxilla and the horizontal plate of palatine bone. The hard palate spans the alveolar arch formed by the alveolar process that holds the upper teeth (when these are developed).

Hay–Wells syndrome

Hay–Wells syndrome (also known as AEC syndrome; see Naming) is one of at least 150 known types of ectodermal dysplasia.These disorders affect tissues that arise from the ectodermal germ layer, such as skin, hair, and nails.

High-arched palate

A high-arched palate (also termed high-vaulted palate) is where the palate is unusually high and narrow. It is usually a developmental feature that may occur in isolation or in association with a number of conditions. It may also be an acquired condition caused by chronic thumb-sucking. A high-arched palate may result in a narrowed airway and sleep disordered breathing.Example conditions which may be associated with a high-arched palate include:

Crouzon syndrome

Down syndrome

Apert syndrome

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

Treacher Collins syndrome

Marfan syndrome

Incontinentia pigmenti


Interferon regulatory factor 6 also known as IRF6 is a protein that in humans is encoded by the IRF6 gene.

Incisive foramen

In the human mouth, the incisive foramen, also called anterior palatine foramen, or nasopalatine foramen is a funnel-shaped opening in the bone of the oral hard palate immediately behind the incisor teeth where blood vessels and nerves pass. The incisive foramen is continuous with the incisive canal, this foramen or group of foramina is located behind the central incisor teeth in the incisive fossa of the maxilla.

The incisive foramen receives the nasopalatine nerves from the floor of the nasal cavity along with the sphenopalatine artery supplying the mucous membrane covering the hard palate of the mouth.

In many other species, the incisive foramina allow for passage of ducts to the vomeronasal organ.

Mucogingival junction

A mucogingival junction is an anatomical feature found on the intraoral mucosa. The mucosa of the cheeks and floor of the mouth are freely moveable and fragile, whereas the mucosa around the teeth and on the palate are firm and keratinized. Where the two tissue types meet is known as a mucogingival junction.

There are three mucogingival junctions: on the facial of the maxilla and on both the facial and lingual of the mandible. The palatal gingiva of the maxilla is continuous with the tissue of the palate, which is bound down to the palatal bones. Because the palate is devoid of freely moveable alveolar mucosa, there is no mucogingival junction.

Palatal consonant

Palatal consonants are consonants articulated with the body of the tongue raised against the hard palate (the middle part of the roof of the mouth). Consonants with the tip of the tongue curled back against the palate are called retroflex.

Palatine bone

The palatine bones () are two irregular bones of the facial skeleton in many animal species. Together with the maxillae they comprise the hard palate. (Palate is derived from the Latin palatum.)

Palatine uvula

The palatine uvula, usually referred to as simply the uvula , is a conic projection from the posterior edge of the middle of the soft palate, composed of connective tissue containing a number of racemose glands, and some muscular fibers (musculus uvulae). It also contains a large number of serous glands that produce a lot of thin saliva.

Pediatric surgery

Pediatric surgery is a subspecialty of surgery involving the surgery of fetuses, infants, children, adolescents, and young adults.

Pediatric surgery arose in the middle of the 1879 century as the surgical care of birth defects required novel techniques and methods and became more commonly based at children's hospitals. One of the sites of this innovation was Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Beginning in the 1940s under the surgical leadership of C. Everett Koop, newer techniques for endotracheal anesthesia of infants allowed surgical repair of previously untreatable birth defects. By the late 1970s, the infant death rate from several major congenital malformation syndromes had been reduced to near zero.

Subspecialties of pediatric surgery itself include: neonatal surgery and fetal surgery.

Other areas of surgery also have pediatric specialties of their own that require further training during the residencies and in a fellowship: pediatric cardiothoracic (surgery on the child's heart and/or lungs, including heart and/or lung transplantation), pediatric nephrological surgery (surgery on the child's kidneys and ureters, including renal, or kidney, transplantation), pediatric neurosurgery (surgery on the child's brain, central nervous system, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves), pediatric urological surgery (surgery on the child's urinary bladder and other structures below the kidney necessary for ejaculation), pediatric emergency surgery, surgery involving fetuses or embryos (overlapping with obstetric/gynecological surgery, neonatology, and maternal-fetal medicine), surgery involving adolescents or young adults, pediatric hepatological (liver) and gastrointestinal (stomach and intestines) surgery (including liver and intestinal transplantation in children), pediatric orthopedic surgery (muscle and bone surgery in children), pediatric plastic and reconstructive surgery (such as for burns, or for congenital defects like cleft palate not involving the major organs), and pediatric oncological (childhood cancer) surgery.

Common pediatric diseases that may require pediatric surgery include:

congenital malformations: lymphangioma, cleft lip and palate, esophageal atresia and tracheoesophageal fistula, hypertrophic pyloric stenosis, intestinal atresia, necrotizing enterocolitis, meconium plugs, Hirschsprung's disease, imperforate anus, undescended testes

abdominal wall defects: omphalocele, gastroschisis, hernias

chest wall deformities: pectus excavatum

childhood tumors: like neuroblastoma, Wilms' tumor, rhabdomyosarcoma, ATRT, liver tumors, teratomas

Separation of conjoined twins

Place of articulation

In articulatory phonetics, the place of articulation (also point of articulation) of a consonant is the point of contact where an obstruction occurs in the vocal tract between an articulatory gesture, an active articulator (typically some part of the tongue), and a passive location (typically some part of the roof of the mouth). Along with the manner of articulation and the phonation, it gives the consonant its distinctive sound.

The terminology in this article has been developed for precisely describing all the consonants in all the world's spoken languages. No known language distinguishes all of the places described here so less precision is needed to distinguish the sounds of a particular language.

Soft palate

The soft palate (also known as the velum, palatal velum, or muscular palate) is, in mammals, the soft tissue constituting the back of the roof of the mouth. The soft palate is part of the palate of the mouth; the other part is the hard palate. The soft palate is distinguished from the hard palate at the front of the mouth in that it does not contain bone.

Stomatitis nicotina

Stomatitis nicotina (also known as nicotine stomatitis, nicotinic stomatitis, nicotine palatinus, stomatitis palatini, leukokeratosis nicotina palate, palatal leukokeratosis, smoker's keratosis, smoker's palate, and smoker's patches), is a diffuse white patch on the hard palate, usually caused by tobacco smoking, usually pipe or cigar smoking. It is painless, and it is caused by a response of the palatal oral mucosa to chronic heat. A more pronounced appearance can occur with reverse smoking, sometimes distinguished from stomatitis nicotina by the term reverse smoker's keratosis. While stomatitis nicotina that is caused by heat is not a premaligant condition (i.e. it does not carry an increased risk of transformation to oral cancer), the condition that is caused by reverse smoking is premalignant.


T-box transcription factor TBX22 is a protein that in humans is encoded by the TBX22 gene.TBX22 is a member of a phylogenetically conserved family of proteins that share a common DNA-binding domain, the T-box. T-box genes encode transcription factors involved in the regulation of developmental processes. Mutations in this gene have been associated with the inherited X-linked disorder, cleft palate with ankyloglossia (tongue-tie), and it is believed to play a major role in human palatogenesis. It has previously been mapped to the long arm of the X chromosome and it has now been demonstrated that mutations in the gene TBX22 are the cause of this syndrome. TBX22 mutations also result in non-syndromic cleft palate in some populations.TBX22 is composed of seven exons spanning 8.7 kilobases of genomic DNA in Xq21.1. The TBX22 mRNA is 2099 base pairs long and encodes a 400-amino-acids protein containing a T-domain in its NH2-terminal region which has the unique feature of missing 20 amino-acids relative to the other known T-domains.

Torus palatinus

Torus palatinus (pl. tori palatini) [palatinus torus (pl. palatal tori) in English] is a bony protrusion on the palate. Palatal tori are usually present on the midline of the hard palate. Most palatal tori are less than 2 cm in diameter, but their size can change throughout life.

Prevalence of palatal tori ranges from 9–60% and are more common than bony growths occurring on the mandible, known as torus mandibularis. Palatal tori are more common in Asian, Native American and Inuit populations, and are twice as common in females. In the United States, the prevalence is 20% - 35% of the population, with similar findings between black and white people.

Although some research suggest palatal tori to be an autosomal dominant trait, it is generally believed that palatal tori are caused by several factors. They are more common in early adult life and can increase in size. In some older people, the size of the tori may decrease due to bone resorption. It is believed that tori of the lower jaw are the result of local stresses and not due solely to genetic influences.

Sometimes, the tori are categorized by their appearance. Arising as a broad base and a smooth surface, flat tori are located on the midline of the palate and extend symmetrically to either side. Spindle tori have a ridge located at their midline. Nodular tori have multiple bony growths that each have their own base. Lobular tori have multiple bony growths with a common base.

Palatal tori are usually a clinical finding with no treatment necessary. It is possible for ulcers to form on the area of the tori due to repeated trauma. Also, the tori may complicate the fabrication of dentures. If removal of the tori is needed, surgery can be done to reduce the amount of bone present.

Van der Woude syndrome

Van der Woude syndrome (VDWS) is a genetic disorder characterized by the combination of lower lip pits, cleft lip with or without cleft palate, and cleft palate alone (CP). The frequency of orofacial clefts ranges from 1:1000 to 1:500 births worldwide, and there are more than 400 syndromes that involve cleft lip with or without cleft palate. VWS is distinct from other clefting syndromes due to the combination of cleft lip and palate (CLP) and CP within the same family. Other features frequently associated with VWS include hypodontia in 10-81% of cases, narrow arched palate, congenital heart disease, heart murmur and cerebral abnormalities, syndactyly of the hands, polythelia, ankyloglossia, and adhesions between the upper and lower gum pads.The association between lower lip pits and cleft lip and/or palate was first described by Anne Van der Woude in 1954. The worldwide disease incidence ranges from 1:100,000 to 1:40,000.

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