The buccal cavity functions as an entrance to the digestive system. It is composed of the teeth, tongue and palate. Once food enters the buccal cavity, it is moved to the pharynx and esophagus, then travels onward through the stomach, small intestine, large intestine and anal opening.
Food is first processed into smaller portions in the buccal cavity by the teeth and saliva. Once mixed with saliva, the food continues to be broken down as it moves through the digestive system, so the body can extract the nutrients it needs for cellular processes. Once all nutrients are extracted, the waste products are excreted at the end of the digestive system.