Anatomy word of the month: Buccinator

July 2, 2012 —

Louis_ArmstrongThe “trumpeter” in Latin. Our cheek muscles, the buccinator, assist the tongue during chewing movements to hold food between our teeth. Otherwise food would accumulate between our cheek and gums making chewing much less efficient and much more frustrating to accomplish.  The buccinator muscles also hold in our cheeks during whistling and forceful blowing through pursed lips as in playing a trumpet, hence, the “trumpeter” muscles. Think of Louis Armstrong’s ballooning cheeks when he is hitting those high notes!


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