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Word Count: 583
Digestive Process It is in the mouth that the Thanksgiving feast begins its journey through the fabulous digestive system It is here that the lips cheeks and tongue carefully position the food that the teeth will chew This chewing process breaks up the food this being a part of mechanical digestion While the teeth grind up the turkey and tasty stuffings the salivary glands begin emitting enzymes these enzymes being contained in saliva This saliva helps to dissolve some foods and adds mucus to make the foods passage through the digestive system a little more speedy The saliva also attacks dangerous microorganisms which enter the mouth Saliva also contains an enzyme which helps to break down carbohydrates into sugars As the food is being ground and coated with saliva its passed over the taste buds which in turn send messages to the brain The brain uses this information to decide whether or not the food should be swallowed The food is then gathered into a ball called a bolus and it is pushed down into the pharynx by way of the tongue This bolus of Thanksgiving meal is then passed down the esophagus the esophagus being a 24cm long tube which connects the pharynx and stomach Lining the walls of the esophagus are rings of muscle which contract in waves pushing the bolus down the length of the esophagus At the base of the esophagus where the esophagus and stomach join a thick ring of muscle called a sphincter is found This sphincter acts like a valve as it allows food to pass into the stomach but does not permit it to pass back up through the esophagus The stomach which is in the essence a large muscle sack contains three sets of glands which produce gastric fluids One set produces mucus which coats the food making it slippery and it protects the stomach walls from being digested by its own secretions The
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