How Do We Swallow?

Have you ever stopped to think about the intricate process of swallowing? It's a function we often take for granted until something goes awry. At Your Ear, Nose, and Throat Clinic, we believe in shedding light on the remarkable mechanisms that keep our swallowing process seamless and trouble-free. Join us on a journey inside the fascinating world of your ear, nose, and throat as we explore the wonders of how we swallow.

The Swallowing Symphony:

Swallowing is a complex orchestration involving multiple structures in the ear, nose, and throat. From the moment you decide to take a sip of water or savor a delicious bite of food, an intricate symphony of movements begins.

Oral Phase:

The process kicks off in the mouth with the oral phase. As you chew your food, your tongue and jaw work together to form a bolus—a cohesive mass ready for the next stages of the journey.

Pharyngeal Phase:

The bolus then makes its way to the back of the throat, entering the pharyngeal phase. Here, a series of reflexes are triggered to prevent the bolus from entering the windpipe. The epiglottis acts like a protective lid, ensuring that the food or liquid moves into the esophagus and not the trachea.

Esophageal Phase:

Now in the esophagus, the bolus travels down in a coordinated manner through a process called peristalsis. This phase ensures that the food reaches the stomach efficiently.

Common Swallowing Issues:

Despite the intricacies of this process, swallowing issues can occur, affecting individuals of all ages. Conditions such as dysphagia, reflux, or structural abnormalities can disrupt the harmony of the swallowing symphony, leading to discomfort and health challenges.


Understanding how we swallow is crucial to maintaining overall health and well-being. If you're experiencing any difficulties with swallowing, don't hesitate to reach out to the Los Angeles Center for Ear, Nose, Throat and Allergy. Our dedicated team is here to guide you through the journey of rediscovering the joy and ease of this everyday process. Together, let's ensure that your swallowing symphony plays harmoniously once again.

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