How the throat works

The throat is a complicated and often underestimated part of the body which performs a range of functions. These are essential to our very existence but because they are performed, often without thinking, we tend to take them for granted. These functions are:

  • Coughing
  • Speech
  • Swallowing

Each of these is discussed in separate sections within this guide.

The throat is a very sensitive part of the body. It contains millions of nerves which enable us to feel anything that we eat enters the throat, for example a hot drink or spicy food.

These nerves are also responsible for the pain of a sore throat. Inside the throat are layers of cells which are kept moist by saliva – secreted by glands at the base of the tongue. This saliva forms part of the body’s immune system and repels germs and bacteria by swallowing them before neutralisation with stomach acid.

The throat enables us to eat, drink, talk and breathe. These are very important functions for what is a small area of our anatomy but nevertheless, it performs a vital role.

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