Why is it hard to swallow 2-4 times continously?



Why is it hard to swallow 2-4 times continously?

In: Biology

Because saliva acts as a lubricant. It’s hard to swallow even one time if your mouth is dry.

I answered this question quite some time ago on this sub. I’ll copy paste my comment from then:

Here is an excerpt from a paper:

Materials in the mouth (food or saliva) and the cortical drive to the tongue and the submental muscles are necessary for initiation of VS.

VS stands for voluntary swallow (as opposed to SS, the spontaneous one). I’d have to dig a little deeper to find you a mechanism. But it seems having something to swallow is necessary in addition to the cortical drive (your brain sending the order to initiate the sequential muscle contractions involved). And when you swallow once, you clear some of the saliva, conceivably dipping below the threshold required for the next swallow. This suggests the maximum rate of voluntary swallows depends on the rate of salivary secretion (and that depends on things beyond your control like what else is or has been in your mouth in terms of food and drink and also many other things like your autonomic activation with the sympathetic (fight or flight) or parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous systems). However you will notice that if you try hard enough, you can induce a swallow anyway even if you just had one a few seconds back, but you’ll also notice you’re flexing some other muscles in your neck that actually stimulate salivary secretion, but this still poses a limit of the maximum swallowing frequency, because you can only force secretion so often in a minute.

Here is the paper I went through but I think you need access for it: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21161279/

I just swallowed 8 times in a row to check, no problems. Am I a mutant?

Seems like I just need to push up the back of my tongue to trigger it at will. (I swallowed a lot more times to figure that out, maybe I could go forever!)

Swallowing when your mouth is too dry may lead to chocking, so there is an instinct to have a certain amount of saliva or other fluid in your mouth to swallow.