The digestive system

The stages of digestion

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The oesophagus

What is deglutition?

Deglutition is the word that describes what happens when we swallow. The epiglottis closes so that the bolus of food moves towards the back of the throat, called the pharynx. The epiglottis thereby blocks the entrance to the larynx, thus preventing the bolus of food from going into the lungs. If food goes into the larynx by mistake, this is what we call food going down the wrong way.

After the bolus of food has been swallowed, it travels down the oesophagus where rhythmic peristaltic waves move it on to the stomach.


Does saliva play a role here?

At this stage of digestion, saliva protects the mucous membrane covering the digestive tract.

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