Q:

What is the function of the epiglottis?

A:

Quick Answer

The epiglottis is a flap that attaches to the larynx and protects the glottis, which contains the vocal cords. The epiglottis also contains some taste buds in addition to providing protection.

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What is the function of the epiglottis?
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Full Answer

The epiglottis is comprised of cartilage and is one of nine cartilage structures contained within the body's larynx. When a person is breathing, the epiglottis will point upward, and when a person is swallowing, the epiglottis will turn horizontally. A person's gag reflex is also thought to stem from the upper part of the epiglottis, which is referred to as the glossopharyngeal nerve. Combined with the vagus nerve, this produces a gag and cough.

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Related Questions

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    What is the role of the epiglottis?

    A:

    According to MedlinePlus, the epiglottis is a flap of skin that prevents food and drink from going down the windpipe and into the lungs. It's located behind the tongue and in front of the voice box, or larynx.

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    What are the uvula and epiglottis?

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    The uvula is the dangling appendage visible at the back of the throat and the epiglottis is a cartilage flap within the throat. Situated behind the tongue and before the larynx, the usually upright epiglottis folds down to block the windpipe when a person swallows. This prevents swallowed items, such as food and drinks, from entering the lungs, directing them instead to the stomach.

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    What is in a drawing of the speech organs?

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    What keeps food from going down your windpipe?

    A:

    When you swallow, a piece of cartilage called the epiglottis closes off the trachea, or windpipe, to prevent food from obstructing your airway, according to About.com. The epiglottis flap normally rests in a slightly upright position above the larynx, or voice box. The epiglottis temporarily folds over the larynx opening as food or beverages enter the throat, protecting the trachea and lungs, MedlinePlus states.

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