The styloglossus muscle is a muscle that forms part of the tongue and pulls the tongue toward the back of the mouth when contracted. It originates from the temporal styloid process on the temporal bone of the skull. When the styloglossus reaches the tongue, it enters the tongue's outer layer on the bottom and sides. The styloglossus muscle aids in chewing, talking, suckling, and the many other functions of the tongue.
The styloglossus muscle is innervated by the hypoglossal nerve. The hypoglossal nerve is a part of the twelfth set of cranial nerves. These are the nerves that stimulate the muscles of the tongue. The hypoglossal nerve also controls the gag reflex, and the sensation of bitterness.
The styloglossus muscle is the smallest and shortest of the three styloid muscles. This muscle group envelopes in a front, downward motion, the carotid arteries. The carotid arteries are one of the major artery groups that are located in the head and neck.
When the styloglossus reaches the rear surface of the tongue, it divides into two sections.