Q:

What is the main function of cheek cells?

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Quick Answer

The cheek cells, also called epithelium cells, are responsible for maintaining moisture in the oral cavity which in turn aids in digestion, softening food for consumption and facilitating swallowing. Cheek cells constantly produce a flow of muicin, which is the main part of mucous. The cheeks cells divide every 24 hours and are shed rapidly from the body.

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These cells can be found multiple places around the body outside of the cheek, including various cavities and structure surfaces. Cheek cells are considered squamous epithelium cells, which look like thin flat plates that fit closely together. These cells fit so closely together that there is virtually no space between them and almost no intercellular space as well. This creates a flat smooth surface that has low friction capabilities. This lack of friction allows fluids to move easily across the surface of that the cells coat.

Since cheek cells are so easy to access, they are often used for DNA samples and paternity tests. Every cell in the human body contains the specific DNA for that person, so when questions of identification or parenthood arise, these are easily obtained from a child or body with just a swab of the cheek. This means that there is no need for any blood to be drawn or pain to be caused to obtain the tissue.

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