Let's take a journey! This journey will only be about 20 feet long, just the length of a bus, but it will take us almost two days to reach the end. Sound boring? Sound slow? Not at all! We will see some unbelievable sights along the way! Places that look alien even though they are very close. In fact, it's a journey to the center of . . . you. Ready? Open wide . . .
We begin in your mouth. From here, we'll follow the food you eat and watch every single thing that happens to it until it reaches the exit. Digestion
is what your body does to break food down into energy you can use. It sounds simple, but most of your body has to work to break this food down and turn it into something you can use. Without this, you would not be able to run, jump, kick, high five -- or live, for that matter.
These teeth are ready to do some chewing.
Time to eat! Choose any food you'd like. In fact, eat a few different kinds of foods so we can watch how the body treats them. Have some rice and some spinach. Here's some orange juice and a piece of chicken. Is your mouth watering? Good! Did you know that digestion starts even before you put food in your mouth? Saliva
is the liquid in your mouth that makes it easy for food to go down your throat and starts to break down your food. You chew, I'll talk. Take a long time to chew. There's a lot to cover in your mouth.
Look out below! Lunch is on the way.
Ready to try something gross but cool? Take some bread or rice and start chewing. Good, now don't stop chewing. In fact, keep chewing for as long as you can. What happens? Yes, the food becomes like a wet sock, but it should also start to taste sweet. That's because there are things called enzymes in your spit. Enzymes
help speed up what your body needs to do. In your mouth, they help your body to break down certain things and start to turn your food into sugar. Your cells can then use this sugar for energy.
Now you can swallow! Look how much we have seen, and we are only at the beginning! You can see why this very short trip could take a while. No matter how tall you are, the trip your food takes is over twenty feet long! Your digestive system
is made up of many parts of your body that have to work together to break your food down into things you can use. It has everything from your mouth to the pipes that carry your food to your stomach, right on down to your bottom.
Look at how much has happened so far, and we are still in your mouth. That's because so many things happen when you chew. Your spit, your teeth and your tongue do a lot of work to make sure your food is ready to enter your body. We still have a long ways to go. What's that? You want to keep eating? Great. There will just be more things to watch in our journey to the center of you.References:
Kidshealth.org. "What Are Taste Buds?" Kids' Health, 2011. <http://kidshealth.org/kid/talk/qa/taste_buds.html>
Kidshealth.org. "Your Digestive System." Kids' Health, 2010. <http://kidshealth.org/kid/htbw/digestive_system.html#>
Woman's Day. "7 Things You Didn't Know About Your Taste Buds." Woman's Day, 2012. <http://www.womansday.com/health-fitness/7-things-you-didnt-know-about-your-taste-buds-119709>