oral information room

Tongue function

For the eating and swallowing function, that is, the "eating function",
it is necessary to make various organs such as the tongue, lips, and
cheeks work in a complicated manner. Among them, the tongue has
an important function in the movement of taking food into the mouth,
chewing it, and swallowing it.

1) Predation

Recognize food and put it in your mouth. At this time, use your lips
and teeth. Predated food is received by the tongue, and the
temperature and physical characteristics of food are instantly

2) Chewing/Mastication

If the food you put in your mouth needs to be chewed, chew the food
with your teeth. At this time, the tongue works to move the food
between the teeth, and when the teeth chew the food, the tongue holds
the food. After chewing several times, the crushed food falls on the
gaps in the lips and on the tongue, so the tongue collects those foods,
moves them to the opposite teeth, and moves them so that they can be
chewed again.

3) Swallowing

When the food is fine enough, the tongue collects the food in the
mouth and sends it to the pharynx. When feeding food from the
pharynx to the esophagus, it requires strong muscle strength that is
pushed out by the tongue.

Source: Evaluation method and dietary guidance for dysphagiam (2001)

It is better to understand the entire process from mastication to swallowing by categorizing 5 stages as anticipatory stage, preparatory stage, oral stage, pharyngeal stage and esophageal stage.
We introduce the process by animation.