Our digestive system is an important part of our body since it is the one responsible in digesting and metabolizing our food and excreting the waste products from our body. This system is made up of several parts and form a tube or passageway that is known as the alimentary canal or digestive tract. The food we eat passes through this tract as it is converted into simpler substances that can be used by the body. Here are some of the facts about the different parts of the digestive system and their functions.
• Mouth – the mouth is considered to the initial part of the digestive system. The mouth is composed of the tongue and the teeth, which are both effective in the initial digestion of the food we eat. The teeth help in the mechanical digestion through biting, slicing and grinding the food. An adult person has 32 permanent teeth, which are classified into different groups according to their function in chewing the food. In addition to teeth, tongue is also effective in food digestion since it helps in covering the food with saliva, which is a useful liquid that makes the food soft and as well as break down starch.
• Esophagus – once the food passes the mouth, it will now enter the esophagus. The esophagus is a tube like passage that connects the food from the mouth to the stomach. It is made up of smooth muscles that do wavelike movements called peristalsis, which helps push the food down to the next digestive organ.
• Stomach – once the food enters the stomach, the food will now begin its secondary digestion with the use of the gastric acids inside the stomach. The stomach is a hollow organ that is similar to a shape of a bag or bean. It is connected to the lower portion of the esophagus and the higher portion of the intestines. It is also enclosed with sphincters in order to retain food inside the organ. The stomach is also flexible, which can allow 1 to 3 liters of food. This organ also acts as storage for food, allowing slow digestion and prevents us from eating every 20 minutes.
• Intestines – following the stomach are the intestines. There are actually two types of intestines, the small intestine and the large intestine. The small intestine comes first with as diameter of 2.5 cm and is 6 meters long. This organ however is also expandable allowing food to enter in larger amounts. It is also lined with villi that contain blood vessels. These villi help in absorbing the nutrients. After the small intestine, the contents will now enter the large intestine or the colon. The colon is about 5 cm wide in diameter and 1.8 meters long. The colon also connects the food to the rectum and the anus as it is excreted from the body. The colon also absorbs water from the undigested food and also holds the contents before it is excreted as feces.
These are just some of the important and vital parts of the digestive system. The system is also composed of some accessory organs such as the liver, gall bladder and pancreas, which help or aid metabolizing and digesting further the components of the food we eat. All in all, we can really conclude that the digestive system is one of the most important systems in the body.