Q:

What is the function of the pharynx?

A:

Quick Answer

The function of the pharynx is to transfer food from the mouth to the esophagus and to warm, moisten and filter air before it moves into the trachea. The pharynx is a part of both the digestive and respiratory systems.

Continue Reading
What is the function of the pharynx?
Credit: cmortimer1 CC-BY 2.0

Full Answer

The pharynx, which is located behind the mouth and nose, is also known as the throat. When food is pushed to the back of the mouth by the tongue, the trachea or windpipe closes, and the food moves into the pharynx. Then, a combination of both voluntary and involuntary muscles work to swallow the food, forcing it into the esophagus, which moves it along to the stomach. A thick lining in the pharynx protects it from rough food particles and harsh chemical food components.

When not being used to transfer food, the pharynx provides a place for air to warm up and acquire the proper humidity levels before it enters the trachea and moves into the lungs. Air passes through the nose or the mouth directly into the pharynx. The mucous lining of the pharynx filters dust particles and other contaminants out of the air. The air then flows through the larynx at the top of the trachea and continues on to the lungs.

Learn more about Organs

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is the main function of the trachea?

    A:

    The main function of the trachea is to deliver air from the mouth to the lungs during respiration. This part of the human body is also known as the windpipe, and it connects the larynx to the bronchi within the lungs.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the main function of the gullet?

    A:

    The main function of the gullet, otherwise known as the esophagus, is to transfer food and drinks from the mouth to begin digestion in the stomach, according to University of Maryland Medical Center. The muscles of the esophagus squeeze food and drinks down involuntarily.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What does the esophagus do?

    A:

    The main function of the esophagus is to transport food, liquids and saliva from the mouth to the stomach. The stomach can then break down the food, and it continues the process of chemical and mechanical digestion.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the path that air takes when you take in a breath?

    A:

    When a person takes a breath, the air enters through the nostrils and continues its passage through the pharynx, larynx, trachea, bronchi, bronchioles, lungs and alveoli. Gas exchange takes place in the alveoli, where oxygen from the air diffuses into the bloodstream through capillaries, and carbon dioxide is transported from these capillaries to the alveoli.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore