Swallowing facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Sagittalmouth
Sagittal view of mouth and pharynx
Pelican swallowing a fish part 4
Pelican swallowing a fish

Swallowing happens when food goes through the mouth of a person or animal into their throat.

It is the process in the human or animal body that allows for a substance to pass from the mouth, to the pharynx, and into the esophagus, while shutting the epiglottis. Swallowing is an important part of eating and drinking. If the process fails and the material (such as food, drink, or medicine) goes through the trachea, then choking or pulmonary aspiration can occur. In the human body the automatic temporary closing of the epiglottis is controlled by the swallowing reflex.

The portion of food, drink, or other material that will move through the neck in one swallow is called a bolus.

Swallowing comes so easily to most people that the process rarely prompts much thought. However, from the viewpoints of physiology, of speech-language pathology, and of health care for people with difficulty in swallowing (dysphagia), it is an interesting topic with extensive scientific literature.


Swallowing Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.