The palate, which is most commonly known as the roof of the mouth, is the structure which separates the oral cavity and the nasal cavity. This is the upper wall of the oral cavity. Palates are of two types, the hard palate and the soft palate. The hard palate exists in the anterior position, while the soft palate exists in the posterior position.
The hard palate is formed during the development of the baby in the mothers womb. The condition when this palate is not formed is called a cleft palate. It is a bony hard structure which is horizontal in shape. The hard palate is functional for speaking and feeding actions. The correlation between the tongue and the hard palate helps a person to speak properly and produce certain sounds.
The soft palate, which is also called the velum, is a soft tissue which exists at the back of the mouth roof. Unlike the hard palate, the soft palate does not have a bone. The soft palate instead has mucous membrane and has muscles which can move. These muscles close the nasal passages when the individual is swallowing something. Even when the individual sneezes, these muscles can be very supportive by diverting some of the excreted material to the mouth.
The soft palate also consists of the uvula. The soft palate is also supportive in speaking and helps the individual to produce certain sounds by touching it with the middle part of the tongue.