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Chewing and Swallowing

Chewing and Swallowing

Author: Aaron Mullally

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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Terms to Know

The ball of chewed food that is swallowed.

Chemical Digestion

The chemical breakdown of food by enzymes or chemicals.


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

Mechanical Digestion

The physical breakdown of food into smaller pieces.


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.

Salivary Amylase

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

Salivary Glands

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