swallowing


swallowing
n.
the process by which food is transferred from the mouth to the oesophagus (gullet). Voluntary raising of the tongue forces food backwards towards the pharynx. This stimulates reflex actions in which the larynx is closed by the epiglottis and the nasal passages are closed by the soft palate, so that food does not enter the trachea (windpipe). Lastly, food moves down the oesophagus by peristalsis and gravity.

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swal·low·ing (swahlґo-ing) the taking in of a substance through the mouth and pharynx, past the cricopharyngeal sphincter through the esophagus and into the stomach. The oral phase is a voluntary act, whereas the remainder is a reflex act mediated by an integrating swallowing center in the medulla oblongata. Called also deglutition.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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