Digestive System

Upper Gastrointestinal Tract

When a person swallows solid or liquid food, what prevents it from going down the windpipe?

Once food is chewed, voluntary muscles move it to the throat. In the pharynx (throat), automatic, involuntary reflexes take over. The epiglottis closes over the larynx (voice box), which leads to the windpipe. A sphincter at the top of the esophagus relaxes, allowing the food to enter the digestive tract.


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