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Lower Lip

Lower Lip

Labium inferius oris

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The lips are the soft, visible part of the humans’ mouth and comprise the upper and the lower lips. Together these serve as the gatekeepers of the oral cavity.

Embryologically, the lower lip is derived from the first pharyngeal arch and covers the body of the mandible anteriorly. It is lowered by the facial muscles, such as depressor labii inferioris, depressor anguli inferioris, and mentalis, which help to open the oral orifice. The orbicularis oris helps in closing the mouth.

The lips are richly innervated structures. The lower lip receives its cutaneous sensory innervation from the mental nerve (branch of inferior alveolar nerve).

Arterial supply to the lower lip comes from the inferior labial branch of the facial artery (a branch of the external carotid artery).

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Related parts of the anatomy

Key Features/Anatomical Relations

The surface of the lips is covered by a thin skin comprising of stratified squamous epithelium. It is non-hairy and lacks sweat glands.

Externally, the lips’ skin forms a junction with the surrounding facial skin, which is marked by the vermilion border (also called the cupid’s bow in the case of the upper lip). Internally, it forms a junction with the mucous membrane inside the oral cavity.


Serving as the gatekeepers of the oral cavity, the lips help in food intake and in articulation of speech. Moreover, being tactile sensory organs and due to their rich sensory innervation, they also serve as erogenous zones in acts of intimacy. Additionally, lips also contribute to the facial expressions.

List of Clinical Correlates

- Cleft lip (and palate)

- Cheilitis

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