Q:

What is the function of the epiglottis?

A:

Quick Answer

The epiglottis is a flap that attaches to the larynx and protects the glottis, which contains the vocal cords. The epiglottis also contains some taste buds in addition to providing protection.

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What is the function of the epiglottis?
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Full Answer

The epiglottis is comprised of cartilage and is one of nine cartilage structures contained within the body's larynx. When a person is breathing, the epiglottis will point upward, and when a person is swallowing, the epiglottis will turn horizontally. A person's gag reflex is also thought to stem from the upper part of the epiglottis, which is referred to as the glossopharyngeal nerve. Combined with the vagus nerve, this produces a gag and cough.

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Related Questions

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    What is the role of the epiglottis?

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    According to MedlinePlus, the epiglottis is a flap of skin that prevents food and drink from going down the windpipe and into the lungs. It's located behind the tongue and in front of the voice box, or larynx.

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    What are the functions of the Larynx?

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    Why do men have deeper voices than women?

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    What type of cartilage forms the epiglottis?

    A:

    The epiglottis is composed primarily of elastic cartilage, according to Florida State University's Molecular Expressions. This type of cartilage also makes up the earlobe and parts of the larynx. Elastic cartilage helps a structure keep its shape and provides support, but it also contains fibers that aid in flexibility.

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