The uvula is a small flap of tissue that hangs in the back of the throat, at the edge of the soft palate. It is comprised of connective tissue and muscle and covered in the same mucus membrane that covers the cheeks and the roof of the mouth. A swollen uvula, uvulitis, can be dangerous because it sits right over the airway.

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1. The Uvula

To understand how serious a swollen uvula can be, it helps to understand the functions of the uvula. This small piece of tissue is highly sophisticated. It can quickly excrete a large amount of saliva, and researchers believe it is integral to speech. Some even think the uvula is a mark of evolution, as it is something that only humans and a few apes have.

uvula evolution speech Cecilie_Arcurs / Getty Images
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This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.