Chewing and Swallowing

Chewing and Swallowing


This lesson will describe the process of chewing and swallowing and will also investigate the role of enzymes during this first stage of food processing.

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  • Mechanical Digestion

    The physical breakdown of food into smaller pieces.

  • Chemical Digestion

    The chemical breakdown of food by enzymes or chemicals.

  • Salivary Glands

    Glands in the mouth which release saliva to aid in the chemical digestion of foods while you chew.

  • Salivary Amylase

    An enzyme found in saliva that chemically breaks down starches into single sugars.

  • Bolus

    The ball of chewed food that is swallowed.

  • Palate

    Also known as the "roof" of your mouth; The tongue presses food against the palate and mixes it with saliva to break it down before swallowing.

  • Epiglottis

    Covers the larynx during swallowing to prevent food or liquids from entering the lungs.