Throat

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The throat is behind the mouth. It is the pathway linking the mouth, nose, esophagus and trachia. It plays an important role in digestion by ensuring that food goes down the esophagus (foodpipe) and not the trachia (windpipe). Read on to learn more about the throat, and its role in digestion.

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Throat

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Throat
The Throat and Surrounding Area

The throat is where the mouth, nasal cavity, esophagus (foodpipe) and trachia (windpipe) join together. It includes the pharynx connecting the mouth, nasal cavity, esophagus and trachea. It also includes the soft palate and epiglottis that control the pathway of the food.

Since both food and air pass through the throat, it is considered part of the digestive system and respiratory system.

Although the throat doesn't participate in the actual digestion of food, it does provides a major digestive function. When food is swallowed, the soft palate closes off the nasal cavity to prevent food from going up your nose. This works well most of the time, but not always. Have you ever seen someone laugh really hard with milk in his mouth? The milk comes out his nose. This does demonstrate that the throat is open into the mouth and nose.

Also when you swallow, the epiglottis, a flap-like elastic cartilage, closes over the trachia. This prevents food from going down the windpipe. Occasionally, you may see someone choke on food because they try to swallow and breathe at the same time. However, normally the epiglottis ensures that food enters the esophagus and proceeds to the stomach for digestion.

 

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