Why do We Have a Hard Palate and a Soft Palate?

What is the difference between the two and what is the function of each?

The hard palate and the soft palate have different functions but together form the roof of your mouth.  anatomy of mouth SM - paid - shutterstock 220669927

The hard palate is the bony part that is the front two-thirds of the roof of your mouth. It holds your teeth (and gums) and creates a chamber where your tongue can move. Thus, it is important to your speech.

The soft palate is the soft one-third of the roof of your mouth, made of fleshy soft tissues and muscles and ends with the uvula (the dangling bit in the back of your throat). Their primary function is to allow you to swallow and direct the food to your esophagus rather than into your nose and your respiratory tract. It is critical, as well, in directing air and sound into and through your mouth to make the appropriate sounds when you speak. The soft palate also plays a role in breathing as a wall between the esophagus and your respiratory tract. This allows you to eat and breathe at the same time. It will not, however, allow you to swallow and breathe simultaneously.