What does the esophagus do?

It takes about 4 to 8 seconds for food to travel from your mouth to your stomach, and your esophagus plays a big part in that action. The esophagus is part of your body’s digestive system, which is about 30 feet (9 meters) in length and runs from the mouth to the anus. The main part of the digestive system is the alimentary canal, a long tube that is made up of the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and large intestine. Other parts of the body are also linked to the canal, such as your teeth, tongue, salivary glands (which make saliva to help break down food), pancreas, liver, and gallbladder. Food and liquids from your mouth pass down through the esophagus, an 11-inch-(25-centimeter-) long tube, into the stomach, where a wave of gastric juices helps break down food into smaller parts, or molecules, which are small enough to be absorbed into the bloodstream and carried throughout the body.


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