Human Body 

The Digestive System


The digestive system is made up of many organs. Food has to be broken down to be absorbed into the blood and then carried round to the cells. This is called digestion.

Digestion starts in the mouth, where the teeth chew the food. The hardest material in the body is the enamel on teeth. The chewed food is mixed with liquid saliva to form a moist ball.

The tongue gives you your sense of taste. Your tongue has little bumps on it that contain tiny sense organs called taste buds. Taste buds are sensitive to chemicals in food. There are different taste buds for tasting bitter, sour, salty and sweet foods. The sense of taste stimulates your stomach to produce gastric juice for digestion.

Before swallowing a small flap called the epiglottis closes off the windpipe to stop food entering the lungs by mistake. The digestive system is a long, coiled, muscular tube, which stretches from the mouth to the anus. Food travels from the mouth down the oesophagus, into the stomach and then into the small intestine. The digested food is absorbed into the blood through the wall of the small intestine. The undigested food continues its journey through the large intestine where water from the food passes into the blood. The small and large intestine make up the largest part of the digestive system. Together they can measure up to 9 metres.  Any undigested food collects in the rectum before leaving the body through the anus. You see on the diagram the appendix; no one knows what the appendix does. It is an evolutionary leftover!


Taste buds on the tongue 

The stomach


Food in the stomach

Related Websites

http://www.gastro.net.au/frame_digestive.html for general information on the digestive system.

MSN Encarta - Teeth for information on the teeth.

http://www.britannica.com/eb/article?eu=108924&tocid=0&query=%22the%20human%20digestive%20system%22 for information on the different parts of the digestive system and their function.  

http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health/digest/pubs/digesyst/newdiges.htm for information on the digestive system and how it works.

http://kidshealth.org/kid/body/digest_noSW.html for general information on the digestive system.

http://www.leeds.ac.uk/chb/lectures/anatomy8.html for a brief overview of the digestive system.

http://www.gihealth.com/html/education/digestive.html for information on how the digestive system works.

http://www.digestivedisorders.org.uk/leaflets/ for information on digestive disorders.

http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health/digest/digest.htm  for information on digestive disorders.



The Nose The Brain and Nervous System
The Ear The Urinary System
The Eye The Digestive System
The Lungs The Reproductive System
Skin and Hair Bones and Muscles
The Heart and Circulatory System