Breaking Down Food II
Although it smells really good, in its current form, that hotdog will not do your body much good. It is much too large to squeeze into your tiny cells. Even if you could get it into one of your cells, that cell would not be able to use it. What do we need to do to the hotdog before we put it into your cells? That’s right!! We need to break it down into smaller pieces.
Your Mouth is the Chomping Champ
As you lift the hotdog up towards your mouth, what is the first thing you do to begin breaking it down into smaller pieces?That’s right, you bite it. The hotdog is too big to swallow in one giant gulp, so you bite the end off. Already you have begun breaking it down, haven’t you? But wait! Now what are you doing? You are still breaking it down into smaller pieces. You are squishing it, and grinding it, and cutting it using your teeth. Something else very important is also happening.
Spit is Not Just for Spitting
Your mouth produces a chemical called saliva, which is more commonly referred to as spit. Saliva is produced by your salivary glands, and is released as you begin to chew. It can also be released when you smell something yummy. Saliva has a couple of important jobs to perform. First, it moistens your food. This makes it easier to chew and helps lubricate it so that it can travel through your body more easily. Saliva also contains chemicals that begin to break your food down into smaller pieces through the process of chemical digestion.