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The pharynx is the upper portion of the airway and the digestive tract. It connects with openings into four general areas: the mouth cavity (at the back of the tongue), the nasal cavity, the larynx (which leads to the trachea), and the esophagus.


In swallowing, the nasal part of the pharynx, the larynx, and the mouth cavity cooperate to shut off the airway so that the swallowed food isn't taken into the trachea.

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