Dr Adam Taor

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Health -

Buc­ci­na­tor: dimples, chew­ing and trum­pets

What is it?

A thin mus­cle in the wall of our cheek. It runs from the back of our jaw bones, near the mo­lar teeth, and con­verges at the cor­ner of our mouth. What does it do? It forms a big part of the side wall of the mouth, and when it tenses it com­presses our cheeks tight against our teeth. It also pulls on the cor­ner of our mouth, of­ten mak­ing dimples in our cheeks. What’s it for? Mas­ti­ca­tion: it helps keep food be­tween our teeth so we can chew (mas­ti­cate) it. What’s it got to do with trum­pets? Peo­ple play­ing wind in­stru­ments need their buc­ci­na­tor mus­cle to help tighten their cheeks and purse their lips so they can blow air out of their mouths un­der pres­sure. That’s why it’s also called the trum­pet mus­cle, and buc­ci­na­tor is in fact Latin for trum­peter. The Trum­peter Swan is also known by the sci­en­tific name of Cygnus buc­ci­na­tor.

Il­lus­tra­tion: Nathalie Gar­cia

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