Learn About Swallowing From Albany’s Top Ear Nose & Throat Doctor
You swallow hundreds of times each day to eat solids, drink liquids and swallow the normal saliva and mucus that the body produces.
The process of swallowing has four stages:
- Oral Preparation: Food or liquid is manipulated and chewed in preparation for swallowing.
- Oral Stage The tongue propels the food or liquid to the back of the mouth to start the swallowing response.
- Pharyngeal Stage This stage begins as food or liquid is quickly passed through the pharynx, the canal that connects the mouth with the esophagus, into the esophagus or swallowing tube.
- Esophageal Stage The food or liquid passes through the esophagus into the stomach.
Although the oral preparation and stage involve some voluntary control, the pharyngeal and esophageal stages occur by themselves, without conscious input.
Susan C. Hare, MS, CCC-SLP
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