Concept

Pharyngeal reflex

Summary
The pharyngeal reflex or gag reflex is a reflex muscular contraction of the back of the throat, evoked by touching the roof of the mouth, back of the tongue, area around the tonsils, uvula, and back of the throat. It, along with other aerodigestive reflexes such as reflexive pharyngeal swallowing, prevents objects in the oral cavity from entering the throat except as part of normal swallowing and helps prevent choking, and is a form of coughing. The pharyngeal reflex is different from the laryngeal spasm, which is a reflex muscular contraction of the vocal cords. Reflex arc In a reflex arc, a series of physiological steps occur very rapidly to produce a reflex. Generally, a sensory receptor receives an environmental stimulus, in this case from objects reaching nerves in the back of the throat, and sends a message via an afferent nerve to the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS receives this message and sends an appropriate response via an efferent nerve (also known as a mo
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