Eat Safe Logo and the Words "Food for Thought" under a graphic of a brain made up of healthy, colorful foods

Food for Thought: Oral Transit – Phase II of a Normal Swallow

Summit DD Eat Safe logoThere are 4 Phases to Eating and swallowing. Some phases involve voluntary actions, and some involve involuntary (reflexive) actions.  Each phase requires timing and coordination on its own and in coordination with the other phases to ensure that food and drink get to the stomach safely.

The 4 Phases of a Normal Swallow in Adults are: 

  1. Oral Preparatory
  2. Oral Transit
  3. Pharyngeal
  4. Esophageal

Phase Two: Oral Transit

This Phase begins when the tongue moves the bolus (mass of prepared food) from the front (anterior) toward the back (posterior) of the mouth (oral cavity). This stage includes:

  • Coordinated tongue movements that include elevation (moving up), rolling from front to back and squeezing of the muscles to move the bolus. 
  • The tongue will also work to separate the appropriate amount of food to swallow by separating some to the side if the bite is too big.
  • This food will need to be swallowed after the first swallow in order to clear the mouth.
  • Thicker food takes more muscle strength and range to move it through this phase and to swallow.

Read about Phase One: Oral Preparatory

Stayed tuned for more “Food for Thought” in the next MUI newsletter. Next newsletter, Phase III: Oral Pharyngeal.

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