Teeth, tongue and saliva in the mouth help us to taste and digest food. Digestion begins in the mouth. The teeth break the food into smaller pieces. Food then mixes with saliva. Saliva is a liquid that is produced in the mouth and helps to soften the food. The tongue now pushes the chewed food into the food pipe from where it reaches the stomach. The tongue also helps us to taste food. It has tiny bumps on its surface called taste buds. When food is mixed with the saliva, chemicals from the food dissolves init are detected by the receptors on the taste buds.

Different parts of the tongue identify different tastes sweet and salt taste buds are located at the tip of the tongue, bitter as the base and sour along the sides. Unless food is mixed with saliva we cannot get the taste of food.

When we have a blocked nose due to a cold, we do not get the full taste of the food that we eat. Ever wondered why? This is because our nose also helps us in tasting food. The aroma of the food we chew travels through the back of our mouth to the nose, which reacts to its smell. Thus, taste and smell together tell us the flavor of the food.

Some food items like cucumber, fennel, makhana and onion do not have any taste. They are band.

What happens next?

Once the food reaches the stomach, it is churned and mixed with special juices. These juices are acidic in nature. They break food further into a paste called chime. Blood absorbs essential nutrients from chime and the waste goes out of the body.

What is glucose?

Savita was in the play ground or the sports day. Suddenly she felt dizzy and fell down. The nursing attended quickly made solution of glucose powder and water and gave in to her to drink. Soon she felt much better. The glucose drink gave her instant energy. Glucose, also called sugar, is absorbed by the blood in our body to give us energy. The food we eat contains starch (carbohydrates). Saliva in the mouth breaks down this starch into glucose, which gives us energy to do work.

Some times, patients who cannot swallow or eat any food become very weak. They are given glucose by drip, for strength and energy. Even patients suffering from service diarrhea or dehydration are treated in a similar manner.



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