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Respiratory System

What structure in the airway prevents food and liquid from entering the lungs?

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October 12, 2016 11:08AM

The epiglottis is a leaf-shaped, flap-like structure made of elastic cartilage that covers the trachea like a lid. The epiglottis directs food to the stomach (through the esophagus) and air to the lungs (through the trachea).

When you swallow, your epiglottis closes off your larynx leaving the only open passage the esophagus. This is why we cannot breathe and swallow at the same time.

If people do not have good dental hygiene they leave small particles of food which they leave in their mouths. These get mixed with air and can be breathed into the lungs. Many asthmatics swallow using tongue thrust. This too leaves food in the throat. This also causes food to be breathed into the lungs. Thus the epiglottis is not perfect but only works when food is actually sent down in a deliberate swallow.

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December 14, 2015 1:36AM

The epiglottis is the strtcture that prevents food from entering the trachea. It is made of connective tissue.

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December 14, 2015 1:36AM

The epiglottis is the structure that prevents food from entering the trachea. It is made of connective tissue. This video gives you a visual of this mechanism.

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April 20, 2015 6:25PM

It is called as epiglottis. Epiglottis covers the trachea during the process of swallowing.

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January 17, 2015 5:00AM

The epiglottis prevents food from going down your windpipe, e.g. the main bronchi.

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July 17, 2012 11:53PM

No, the thyroid cartilage forms the "Adam's apple." The epiglottis prevents food from entering the larynx during swallowing.

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May 04, 2011 2:59AM

The epiglottis

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May 03, 2011 12:49AM

epiglottis