Head and Face Muscles

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There are over 30 muscles in the head and face. Without your face muscles, you would be very expressionless. You wouldn't be able to smile, laugh, or frown. You would also have trouble eating and speaking. Read on to learn more about the head and face muscles, and their role in eating, talking and many other facial movements.

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Head and Face Muscles

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Head and Face Muscles
Head and Face Muscles

The facial muscles, just under the skin, control facial expressions such as smiling, laughing, moving your eyes, and blinking. They also control moving your jaw and mouth to talk and chew food.

Major facial muscles include the procerus, occipitofrontalis, occipitalis, orbicularis oculi, auricularis, levator labii superioris alaeque nasi, corrugator, depressor anguli oris, depressor labii inferioris, mentalis, orbicularis oris, and zygomaticus major and minor. Other muscles such as the buccinator, masseter, temporalis, and platysma that are responsible for controlling the mouth and mandible or lower jaw bone for eating.

If you are good a making funny faces, then you are using many of the following muscles. The procerus connects between the nose and the forehead, between the eyebrows. It pulls the skin of the forehead downward. The occipitofrontalis pulls the eyebrows and skin of the forehead upwards. The occipitalis in the back of the head moves the scalp. The orbicularis oculi muscle closes the eyelids. The levator labii superioris alaeque nasi muscle holds the record as the longest muscle name. It is also responsible for lifting your upper lip. The corrugator muscle at the end of the eyebrow pulls the outer side of the eyebrow downward, as in a frown. The depressor anguli oris connects between the mandible and the lower lip. It pulls the lower lip downward creating the frowning expression. The depressor labii inferioris also connects from the mandible to the lower lip, pulling the lip down. The mentalis muscles pull the sides of the lips downward or pulls the skin on the chin upward. The orbicularis oris muscle forms much of the lips. It is responsible for lip movement and shaping the mouth for talking and eating. The zygomaticus major and minor connect from the cheek bone to the side of the mouth. They lift the sides of the mouth up and outwards to make you smile.

If you enjoy eating or talking be thankful for the following muscles. The buccinator connects from the side of the jaw to the side of the mouth. It tightens the lips, and the tightens the cheeks against the teeth. It helps keep food in the mouth while chewing. The temporalis muscle in the temples assists in chewing by closing the jaw. You can see and feel the temporalis contracting by clenching and unclenching your jaw. The masseter muscle is also involved in closing your jaw and clenching your teeth. The platysma connects from the chest, through the neck, onto the mandible. It is responsible for lowering or opening the jaw.

And, who can forget the auricularis muscle. Can you wiggle your ears? If so, you are using your auricularis muscles located at the front, back and top of the ear.


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