The first bite of food signals the salivary glands, and they begin to produce saliva. The average person produces about two pints of saliva each day. Chewing breaks the food down into digestible pieces. The tongue pushes the food around the mouth during chewing. Saliva mixes with the chewed food, transforming it into an absorbable form. Most of the salivary glands are in the lining of the mouth, but there are three additional pairs - the parotid, the sublingual, and the submandibular glands. A small fold of tissue called the epiglottis folds over the windpipe to prevent food from entering this opening.
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