The palate is the structure between the oral cavity and the nasal cavity. It forms both the roof for the oral cavity and the floor for the nasal cavity.

Palate disorders

Pain in the palate can have a variety of causes and take different forms. A precise diagnosis of the occurrence of palatal pain allows many conclusions to be drawn about more or less dangerous and acute causes.
It is helpful to know, for example, whether the pain is limited to the hard or soft palate or is diffuse everywhere and whether it begins more acutely or dull over a long period of time.

The nature of the pain can also tell a lot. Most people experience burning pain in the roof of the mouth every now and then, for example after eating food that is too hot. In most cases, the particularly acute and rapid onset of pain is more harmless.

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The diseases affecting the palate are very diverse. They range from more harmless complaints, such as:

  • Pimples
  • Red dots
  • Vesicles
  • Burns
  • abscess
  • swollen palate
  • inflamed palate

up to manifest diseases in the real sense:

  • Cleft lip and palate
  • Tonsillitis
  • Palate cancer
  • Glossopharyngeal neuralgia.

The complaints mentioned are explained below.

Pimples on the roof of the mouth

Pimples on the roof of the mouth can have various causes, but most of them are very harmless. Most of them are painless and disappear after a few days. This can be due to a blocked gland, an allergic reaction or food that is too hot or too spicy, as in the face.

If the pimple has a white coating and is painful, it is probably an ulcer. If this occurs frequently, a doctor should be consulted.

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Red spots on the palate

Red spots on the palate can have various causes, which can be very harmless, but can also have more serious reasons. Most of the time, these points appear with other physical symptoms that allow a diagnosis.

The simplest reason for a reddening is a food intolerance with irritation of the mucous membrane. Infection with a Streptococcus Bacterium present, which is indicative of scarlet fever. Other possible causes are infection with the HI virus or even that Epstein-Barr virus, the that Pfeiffer's glandular fever evokes. If the symptoms persist for a long time, a doctor should be consulted.

You can also read about this: Red spots on the roof of the mouth - how dangerous is it?

Vesicles on the palate

Blisters on the roof of the mouth can have a variety of causes. Already a burn or injury to the mucous membrane hot or spicy foods can cause. Infections with flu viruses, HIV viruses or herpes and various dental diseases can also be a reason for this.

Usually this is expressed in one Burn, Bad breath or increased salivation. Should blisters occur, particular attention should be paid to daily oral hygiene, as this is beneficial for wound healing and prevents further infections. Various home remedies such as ice cubes for cooling can help if pain occurs. If the symptoms persist for a long time, a doctor should be consulted.

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Read about it too: Canker sores in the throat

Burned palate - what to do?

A burned palate is usually very harmless, but often very painful because the mucous membranes are very sensitive to pain. Hot foods are the most common reason for this.

With burns, there are different degrees of injury. In most cases, there will be redness and swelling. However, if the burn is more severe, burn blisters and other signs of burn can occur, which can usually be very painful on the anterior palate. In these cases, the palate usually heals by itself after a few days.

The easiest way to quickly relieve pain is to use cooling. This can be done either by sucking an ice cube or by eating ice cream. However, care should be taken not to cool the affected area directly. It is also often helpful to consume cold buttermilk or cold yoghurt, as both are said to have anti-inflammatory, cooling and neutralizing effects on the alkaline saliva in the mouth. If none of these remedies are available, rinsing the mouth with cold water will of course also help.

In order to prevent further inflammation or to reduce inflammatory reactions, after the first pain has passed honey or chamomile be applied. The honey can be smeared directly onto the wound, because some of the ingredients have a beneficial effect on wound healing and prevent inflammation. The advantage of honey is that it is relatively sticky and can therefore stay on the wound for a long time. Just like honey, chamomile tea has antibacterial and wound healing effects. The advantage of chamomile tea is that you can gargle it as well as cool it. This relieves the pain that follows later and the effect occurs throughout the mouth. In addition to these measures, precautionary measures can also be taken to minimize pain and the risk of inflammation.

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Avoid eating foods with sharp edges such as chips or salty foods such as french fries.

Find out more at: Burns on the roof of the mouth

Abscess on the roof of the mouth

Abscesses on the roof of the mouth can be caused by bacteria, fungi, and blocked salivary glands. Especially in the area of ​​the palate, the occurrence of an abscess can also be related to the teeth. Abscesses make their way through a reddened, swollen, warm and usually extremely painful symptoms noticeable that the Ingestion considerably affect can.

Surrounding tissue such as muscles, nerves or bones can also be affected if the infection spreads. If left untreated, this can lead to life-threatening spread that ends in sepsis. Therapy usually consists of splitting the abscess so that the Drain pus can and only in particularly severe forms with a tendency to spread, an additional antibiotic is prescribed.

Read more on the subject: Bump on the roof of the mouth

Swollen palate

Swelling of the palate is one of the symptoms of inflammation that is present. Since the mouth and palate area have essential functions in the chewing and swallowing process, but also in voice training, even slight changes in size, for example swelling, can cause limitations in everyday life.

Almost all of the aforementioned causes of pain and inflammation in the roof of the mouth can also trigger swelling. In the context of any inflammation of the palate caused by burns, injuries, allergic reactions, bacterial, viral and fungal attack, but also tumors themselves, swellings of varying degrees arise.

It is noticeable, for example, in inflamed, swollen tonsils that cause pain when swallowing. The swollen tonsils partially obstruct access to the esophagus and make every swallowing process painful.

Allergic reactions can also be dangerous. These are triggered either seasonally, for example by pollen, or by foods such as nuts or fruits. Depending on the extent of the allergic reaction, it can range from a sore throat with slight swelling to massive, painful swellings that radiate into the ear canals and cause breathing and swallowing difficulties.

Depending on the cause, the swelling of the palate can be treated. If there are bacterial infections, the doctor can prescribe one to two weeks of antibiotic therapy. In the case of allergic reactions, antiallergic medication can help relieve. In the case of burns and injuries, the body usually heals on its own. At the most, it makes sense not to irritate the palate with hot, dry or spicy foods. In the case of burns, it can be useful to cool the affected area, for example by sucking an ice cube.

If the swelling persists for many days, it is advisable to consult a doctor.

Read more on the subject at: Swollen palate

Inflammation of the palate

The term inflammation is very unspecific and can take a variety of forms. Inflammation can be identified by the 5 main signs of inflammation: Pain ("Dolor"), Warming ("Calor"), Redness ("Rubor"), Swelling ("tumor") And restricted function ("Functio laesa“).

The most common form is burns, often from food that is too hot. Small injuries to the mucous membrane can also be the cause. In young people, this is often done by cutting braces.

If there is a wound in the oral mucous membrane, a path is generally paved through which foreign pathogens can penetrate the tissue and cause inflammation. In most cases these are bacteria, but viruses and fungi can also cause inflammation of the palate.

More information is available here: Inflammation on the roof of the mouth

The almonds in particular are susceptible to droplet infections. In addition to the reddening and swelling of the tonsils, there is also often a fever, sore throat and exhaustion. If bacteria are the cause of the inflammation, yellowish to white pus often forms, which can be seen from the outside and which is highly contagious.

Read more on this topic at: Symptoms of tonsillitis.

Simply viral (caused by viruses) infections usually heal within a week in otherwise healthy people. If there is a long-term bacterial infection and typical pus can be seen on the tonsils, a family doctor should definitely be consulted. It is often necessary to start with a one to two week antibiotic therapy. If the infection becomes chronic or occurs too frequently, this can be an indication for having the tonsils surgically removed. This usually requires a one-week hospital stay.

Read more on this topic at: Remove the almonds

Good oral hygiene is highly recommended to prevent inflammation of the palate. Regular, thorough brushing of your teeth and mouth rinsing solutions can provide good prophylaxis against harmful bacteria in the oral mucosa.

Scratching pain on the roof of the mouth

Scratchy pain occurs especially with allergic reactions. Most often these are triggered by pollen or incompatible foods. Many people already find the consumption of kiwi or pineapple uncomfortable, as the palate appears reddened and itches afterwards.

Allergy medications are widespread and widely available and can be very useful for known allergies.

Read more on this topic at: Therapy for an allergy.

Cleft lip and palate

During development, the palate is created by the merging of the two upper jaw systems (Median palatal suture) and the incisive bone. However, this closure can be incomplete and congenital malformations occur. This can be a cleft palate (Palatoschisis), a uvula split (Uvula bifida) or even a cleft lip and palate (Cheilognathopalatoschisis) be. Earlier names were also wolf's throat for the cleft palate and harelip for the cleft lip and palate. However, these terms are now obsolete.

A cleft lip and palate occurs more often than the isolated forms of the palate or lip cleft.

A cleft palate can affect both the hard and soft palates. Swallowing and thus eating and speaking (articulation of some sounds) are impaired. A cleft palate also increases the risk of some infections (due to the lack of closure between the individual cavities in the head). These include, for example, middle ear infections or respiratory infections (of the nasal, paranasal sinuses or throat).

Infants in particular can no longer be breastfed because the sucking effect is lost. This can be temporarily supplied by the dentist with a plastic palate plate.

In the case of a cleft lip and palate, the split is even more pronounced and also affects the upper jaw and lip.

Under one Uvula bifida one understands the cleavage of the uvula. It can therefore be counted as the easiest form of the cleft palate.

Surgery is necessary to treat the cleft palate. During this operation, the split is corrected and closed.

Genetic changes are the cause of such a malformation. Factors in pregnancy such as smoking, drug and alcohol consumption by the mother or a lack of nutrients and ionizing radiation as causes for these genetic defects are also discussed.

Read more on this topic at: Cleft lip and palate.

In addition, the hard palate can inhibit growth if, for example, there is no growth stimulus due to proper swallowing. Then there is not enough space in the upper jaw for the permanent teeth and constrictions, nesting and jaw misalignments occur.

This problem is treated by so-called palatal expansion.


A tonsillitis is an infectious disease that is often caused by viruses and less often by bacteria. Many of these bacteria belong to the normal pharyngeal flora, but can cause the disease if the immune system is weak or if there are superficial injuries.

It expresses itself through a swelling and Redness one or both tonsils, one purulent coating, difficulty swallowing and swelling of the lymph nodes on the neck and lower jaw. In addition, accompanying symptoms are common Fever, headache and a generalized fatigue in front.

If there is a spread of the pathogens through the blood in the case of tonsillitis caused by bacteria, there is even a mortal danger. This can lead to sepsis, inflammation of the heart and other organs. For this reason, if you suspect tonsillitis, a doctor should be consulted.

The infection can be divided into an acute and a chronic variant according to the course of the disease. Therapy is based on this. In acute tonsillitis, emphasis is placed on combating pathogens and relieving pain. In the case of a chronic course, the tonsils can also be surgically removed.

You might also be interested in: This is how to treat tonsillitis

Palate cancer

Palate cancer is a malignant and common oral disease. This type of cancer is more than twice as common in men than in women. This usually happens in the fifth decade of life. This is where the tumors usually develop from the cells of the mucous membrane. The average survival rate is around 50%. However, the individual prognosis depends heavily on the stage at which the cancer is detected, which is why early detection is essential. For this reason, wounds and surface changes that are difficult to heal should be checked at an early stage.

Other signs of palate cancer can be Hoarseness, bad breath, dry cough and sore throat that are often misinterpreted. Various factors can cause cancer to develop. These include to a large extent smoking and regular alcohol consumption, poor oral hygiene and the human papillomavirus. This virus is usually transmitted through skin or mucous membrane contact. This can happen both during sex and from sharing towels and toothbrushes.

In addition, some people are genetically predisposed to it. Depending on the stage, palatal cancer is treated either by surgical removal and subsequent radiation therapy or by a combination of both with chemotherapy.

Glosspharyngeal neuralgia

A painful but rather rare disease is the "Glosspharyngeal Neuralgia" This describes an excessive sensitivity of the cranial nerve, which is responsible for touch and taste perception in the oral cavity area. Even light touches can lead to sharp, stabbing pain in severe cases.

Functions of the palate

The front part of the palate, the hard palate, mainly separates the oral cavity from the nasal cavity. Due to the resistance that it offers due to its hard structure, the hard palate serves as an abutment against the tongue and thus supports the swallowing process, for example by pressing the tongue upwards when swallowing, so that food portions further back in the oral cavity or in the direction Throat area can slip.

The soft palate is flexible due to its structure and the muscles it contains. It separates the oral cavity from the nasopharynx and the adjacent nasal cavity. The pharynx opens directly behind the soft palate, from which it descends towards the esophagus (Esophagus) and larynx (larynx) with trachea (Trachea) goes.
When swallowing, the soft palate with the soft palate has the task of preventing liquids or chyme from entering the nasal cavity. To do this, the soft palate is pulled by a muscle when you swallow (Pharyngeal constrictor muscle) pressed against the back wall of the throat. This closes the nasal cavity from the oral cavity.

The soft palate has another function in sound formation (articulation) So speaking.

Depending on whether the language is more oral (i.e. via the oral cavity) or more nasal (the sounds are pronounced through the nose), the soft palate can direct the escaping airflow. Oral sounds separate the nasal cavity from the oral cavity (like swallowing). This is how the air coming out of the lungs goes (Phonation stream) through the throat and oral cavity. In the case of nasal sounds, such as some consonants, the soft palate closes the oral cavity at the rear edge and the air flowing out and making sounds flows through the nasal cavity.

Orthodontics on the palate

What is a palatal expansion?

A palatal expansion serves to widen the upper jaw including the palate in a lateral direction. An indication for this is a disproportion in the lateral size of the lower and upper jaw. When choosing the method, attention is paid to the age of the patient.

In children there is physiologically a growth plate between the two halves of the palate, which can be expanded with removable braces or fixed appliances. Since the braces interfere with speaking and are less successful in therapy, the fixed appliances are usually used, which can be readjusted by the patient himself or a person close to him, so that, for example, a hinge is rotated further every few days and the brace is thus wider .

In adults, a growth plate no longer exists, which is why oral surgery is necessary. The aim of this is to weaken the seam between the two halves of the jaw. Usually parallel to this, the bone above the teeth of the upper jaw is weakened. These two procedures allow for a palatal expansion in adults.

Since there is a lot of movement and high pressures or tension in the mouth area when the palate is dilated, pain is normal, especially at the beginning of therapy. In addition, after a few days, a tooth gap appears in the area of ​​the upper incisors, but this is a positive sign. It means the enlargement is effective. During the entire treatment time should be good Oral hygiene be respected. Likewise, should be regular Control appointments must be adhered to, as the brackets of the appliance often loosen and damage to the tooth or gums can be avoided at an early stage.

After completing the expansion, the appliance should remain in the mouth for about six more weeks, since bone will form during this time and the upper jaw will be stabilized in the new position. A palatal expansion is also helpful for cross bites and breathing problems, as the Palate is expanded as the bottom of the nasal cavity and thus more volume flow comes about. Nowadays this is what people try to achieve with allergy sufferers and people who snore.

You will find more information on this topic here: The palatal expansion

What is a palatal brace?

A wire bracket is called a palatal brace, which runs between the large molars on both sides across the palate and is fixed to them. The aim of a palatal brace is to anchor the molars more firmly in the upper jaw and to reduce snoring.

Stronger anchoring is achieved by pressing the tongue against the wire bow between the molars with each swallowing process. Due to the mechanical coupling to the teeth, these are also pressed deeper into the upper jaw with each swallowing process. Snoring is avoided by the fact that the wire bow between the molars represents a mechanical barrier that prevents the soft palate or uvula from closing the upper airways.

The advantage over a protrusion splint or snoring splint is that there is no need for complete dentition, the palatal brace does not cause temporomandibular joint pain or damage and only borders on the mucous membrane of the oral cavity, which is not damaged as a result.

Anatomical structures around the palate

A distinction is made between the following structures anatomically:

  • the hard and the soft palate
  • the soft palate
  • the tonsils
  • the uvula
  • the palatal arch
  • Palate muscles

The hard and soft palate

The palate is part of the upper jawbone (maxilla) and is divided into two sections. The hard palate (Palatum durum) and the soft palate (Palatum molle).

The front part of the palate is the hard palate. It consists of the following bony structures: the intermaxillary bone (os incisivum) and the palatine bone (os palatinum). In the area of ​​the hard palate, the bone is firmly fused with the mucous membrane lying on it and cannot be moved against it. The mucous membrane of the hard palate goes directly into the gums on the sides (Gingiva) above. The hard palate extends approximately to the level of the third molar teeth (3rd molar). From here on, the hard palate changes directly into the soft palate.

The soft palate is the back part of the palate. He is agile. Belonging to the soft palate are the soft palate (Velum palatinum) and the uvula (uvula). The soft palate consists of a connective tissue plate into which three muscles also radiate. These muscles are the Tensor veli palatini muscle (Soft palate tensioner), the Levator veli palatini muscle (Soft palate lifter) and the Palatopharyngeal muscle (forms the palatal arch).

The soft palate

The soft palate, too soft palate called, forms with the hard palate the delimitation of the oral cavity to the nasal cavity and delimits the oral cavity towards the back of the throat. The transition between the hard palate and the soft palate is called the Ah line because it becomes visible when the vowel "A" is spoken. The soft palate consists largely of muscles, connective tissue and mucous membranes, whereby the muscles are of great importance for the swallowing process. Here, the soft palate is pressed against the back wall of the throat by contraction of the muscles and closes the upper airways.

It thus represents an important barrier between the airways and the food pathway. In addition, the soft palate is involved in the formation of speech by raising and lowering. The soft palate also contains smaller glands that, together with other glands, produce saliva. On the side of the soft palate arise two double folds that form the so-called palatal arches.

The palatine tonsil

The palatine tonsil is a paired organ that is located between the anterior and posterior palatal arches. They are located at the transition between mouth and throat and belong to the lymphatic ring of the throat. As a lymphatic organ, it serves the immune system and thus the defense against pathogens. It is usually the size of an almond, but it is enlarged in inflammation. Like the entire oral cavity, it is covered by a mucous membrane, which extends into the deep indentations of the surface the palatine tonsil reaches into it. Food particles colonized by bacteria can collect in these folds. White blood cells are also often found here. The contact between the environment and the body's immune system has an important effect on the functioning of the immune system.

The food particles that collect in the folds on the surface of the tonsils are excreted at regular intervals. This so-called Detritus or tonsil stone is often mistakenly perceived as tonsillitis by laypeople. However, this does not have to be a sign of inflammation, but is perfectly normal without any other symptoms.

The uvula

The uvula, too uvula or also called uvula, is a soft tissue process of the soft palate and is located in the middle on the free side of it. This allows it to move around and, like the soft palate, is involved in language formation. The shape is formed by a muscle that is covered by a mucous membrane. They are also located in the mucous membrane touch-sensitive receptors, that can trigger nausea. These receptors are used to detect foreign bodies and represent a protective mechanism against swallowing objects.

Read more under: Uvula

The palatal arch

The palatal arches are formed by two folds of the mucous membrane, both of which arise from the soft palate. The posterior arch of the palate extends from there to the throat, while the anterior arch of the palate ends at the base of the tongue. The palatine tonsil is located between these two folds of the mucous membrane. They are also involved in language formation, swallowing and nausea.

Read more about this under: Palatine arch

Palate muscles and soft structures

The soft palate tensioner (Tensor veli palatini muscle) tightens the soft palate and can lower it. This muscle is also responsible for the Eustachian tube (Tuba auditiva) opens. The soft palate lifter (Levator veli palatini muscle) can lift the soft palate. The Palatopharyngeal muscle forms the palate arch and supports the throat muscles when swallowing.

The soft palate, which makes up the soft palate, is a soft tissue fold. This consists of the muscles, connective tissue and mucous membrane. At the posterior end of the soft palate, this describes a double arch. In the middle of this arch hangs the uvula (Uvula). This is visible when the mouth is wide open.

At the rear end of the soft palate there is a narrow throat or throat (Isthmus faucium). This forms the transition from the oral cavity to the pharynx. The gullet is formed by the base of the tongue and the soft palate including the uvula.

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