Cheek

Cheeks (Latin: buccae) constitute the area of the face below the eyes and between the nose and the left or right ear. They may also be referred to as jowls. "Buccal" means relating to the cheek. In humans, the region is innervated by the buccal nerve. The area between the inside of the cheek and the teeth and gums is called the buccal pouch or buccal cavity and forms part of the mouth.

Cheeks are fleshy in humans and other mammals, the skin being suspended by the chin and the jaws, and forming the lateral wall of the human mouth, visibly touching the cheekbone below the eye. Some animals such as squirrels and hamsters use the buccal pouch to carry food or other items.

In vertebrates, markings on the cheek area (malar stripes/spots/...), particularly immediately beneath the eye, often serve as important distinguishing features between species or individuals.

The inside of the cheek is lined with a mucous membrane (buccal mucosa, part of the oral mucosa). It is the most common location from which a DNA sample can be taken (during a cheek swab).

The cheeks are covered externally by hairy skin, and internally by stratified squamous epithelium. This is mostly smooth, but may have aborally directed papillae (e.g.: ruminants). The mucosa is supplied with secretions from the Buccal glands, which are arranged in superior and inferior groups. In carnivores, the superior buccal gland is large and discrete: the Zygomatic gland. During mastication (chewing), the cheeks and tongue between them serve to keep the food between the teeth.

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Famous quotes containing the word cheek:

    Claudio. The old ornament of his cheek hath already stuffed tennis-balls.
    Leonato. Indeed, he looks younger than he did, by the loss of a beard.
    William Shakespeare (1564–1616)

    Who fed me from her gentle breast,
    And hushed me in her arms to rest,
    And on my cheek sweet kisses prest?
    My Mother.
    Ann Taylor (1783–1824)

    Your faith an’ trouth yese never get
    Nor our trew Love shall never twain
    Till ye come within my bower
    And kiss me both cheek and chin.

    My mouth it is full cold, Margret,
    It has the smell now of the ground;
    An’ if I kiss thy com’ly mouth
    Thy life days will not be long.
    Unknown. Clerk Saunders (l. 109–116)