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Although the masseter and temporalis are responsible for elevating and closing the jaw to break food into digestible pieces, the medial pterygoid    and lateral pterygoid    muscles provide assistance in chewing and moving food within the mouth.

Muscles that move the tongue

Although the tongue is obviously important for tasting food, it is also necessary for mastication, deglutition    (swallowing), and speech ( [link] and [link] ). Because it is so moveable, the tongue facilitates complex speech patterns and sounds.

Muscles that move the tongue

Muscles for tongue movement, swallowing, and speech

This table describes the muscles used in tongue movement, swallowing, and speech. The genioglossus moves the tongue down and sticks the tongue out of the mouth. It originates in the mandible. The styloglossus moves the tongue up and retracts the tongue back into the mouth. It originates in the temporal bone. The hyoglossus flattens the tongue. It originates in the hyoid bone. The palatoglossus bulges the tongue. It originates in the soft palate. The digastric raises the hyoid bone in a way that also raises the larynx, allowing the epiglottis to cover the glottis during deglutition; it also assists in opening the mouth by depressing the mandible. It originates in the mandible and temporal bone. The stylohyoid raises and retracts the hyoid bone in a way that elongates the oral cavity during deglutition. It originates in the temporal bone. The mylohyoid raises the hyoid bone in a way that presses the tongue against the roof of the mouth, pushing food back into the pharynx during deglutition. It originates in the mandible. The geniohyoid raises and moves the hyoid bone forward, widening the pharynx during deglutition. It originates in the mandible. The ornohyoid retracts the hyoid bone and moves it down during later phases of deglutition. It originates in the scapula. The sternohyoid depresses the hyoid bone during swallowing and speaking. It originates in the clavicle. The thyrohyoid shrinks the distance between thyroid cartilage and the hyoid bone, allowing production of high-pitch vocalizations. It originates in the hyroid cartilage. The sternothyroid depresses the larynx, thyroid cartilage, and hyoid bone to create different vocal tones. It originates in the sternum. The sternocleidomastoid and semispinalis capitis rotate and tilt the head to the side and forward. They originate in the sternum and clavicle. The splenius capitis and longissimus capitis rotate and tilt the head to the side and backwards.

Tongue muscles can be extrinsic or intrinsic. Extrinsic tongue muscles insert into the tongue from outside origins, and the intrinsic tongue muscles insert into the tongue from origins within it. The extrinsic muscles move the whole tongue in different directions, whereas the intrinsic muscles allow the tongue to change its shape (such as, curling the tongue in a loop or flattening it).

The extrinsic muscles all include the word root glossus (glossus = “tongue”), and the muscle names are derived from where the muscle originates. The genioglossus    (genio = “chin”) originates on the mandible and allows the tongue to move downward and forward. The styloglossus    originates on the styloid bone, and allows upward and backward motion. The palatoglossus    originates on the soft palate to elevate the back of the tongue, and the hyoglossus    originates on the hyoid bone to move the tongue downward and flatten it.

Everyday connections

Anesthesia and the tongue muscles

Before surgery, a patient must be made ready for general anesthesia. The normal homeostatic controls of the body are put “on hold” so that the patient can be prepped for surgery. Control of respiration must be switched from the patient’s homeostatic control to the control of the anesthesiologist. The drugs used for anesthesia relax a majority of the body’s muscles.

Among the muscles affected during general anesthesia are those that are necessary for breathing and moving the tongue. Under anesthesia, the tongue can relax and partially or fully block the airway, and the muscles of respiration may not move the diaphragm or chest wall. To avoid possible complications, the safest procedure to use on a patient is called endotracheal intubation. Placing a tube into the trachea allows the doctors to maintain a patient’s (open) airway to the lungs and seal the airway off from the oropharynx. Post-surgery, the anesthesiologist gradually changes the mixture of the gases that keep the patient unconscious, and when the muscles of respiration begin to function, the tube is removed. It still takes about 30 minutes for a patient to wake up, and for breathing muscles to regain control of respiration. After surgery, most people have a sore or scratchy throat for a few days.

Muscles of the anterior neck

The muscles of the anterior neck assist in deglutition (swallowing) and speech by controlling the positions of the larynx (voice box), and the hyoid bone, a horseshoe-shaped bone that functions as a solid foundation on which the tongue can move. The muscles of the neck are categorized according to their position relative to the hyoid bone ( [link] ). Suprahyoid muscles are superior to it, and the infrahyoid muscles    are located inferiorly.

Questions & Answers

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Source:  OpenStax, Anatomy & Physiology: support and movement. OpenStax CNX. Aug 21, 2014 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11700/1.1
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