Mastication, often referred to as chewing, is a fundamental process in the consumption of food. This intricate action involves the crushing and grinding of food particles using your teeth. It serves as the initial step in the digestive process, playing a crucial role in increasing the surface area of foods. This increased surface area allows digestive enzymes to efficiently break down the food into smaller, digestible components.
Throughout the mastication process, your tongue and cheeks work in harmony to position the food between your teeth for grinding. The muscles responsible for mastication move your jaws, facilitating intermittent contact between your teeth as they repeatedly occlude and open. As you continue to chew, the food becomes softer and warmer. Additionally, the enzymes present in saliva start breaking down carbohydrates within the food.
Once the chewing process is complete, the food transforms into a cohesive mass known as a bolus. At this point, it is ready to be swallowed. The bolus enters the esophagus and is propelled toward the stomach through a series of coordinated muscle contractions called peristalsis. In the stomach, the next stage of digestion unfolds.
If you have any concerns or questions related to your oral health or the mastication process, we encourage you to reach out to Lakeside Family Dental at (905) 637-0801. Our experienced team, led by Dr. Michael Cohen & Associates, is conveniently located at 5353 Lakeshore Rd, Unit 21 in Burlington, ON, and is dedicated to addressing your dental needs and ensuring your overall well-being.