For Anatomy & Physiology students at Christian Life School

2 categories of digestive system organs & organs found in each

Alimentary canal (GI tract) - mouth, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, SI, LI
Accessory organs - teeth, tongue, gallbladder, salivary glands, liver, pancreas

6 Digestive system processes & descriptions

Ingestion - taking food into the mouth
Propulsion - moves food through the system by peristalsis
Mechanical digestion - includes chewing, mixing food with saliva by the tongue, and churcing food in the stomach
Chemical digestion - food is broken down into its simplest substances
Absorption - passage of digested food through the cells of the GI tract
Defacation - elimination of wastes from the body

Red margin

Area of lips where lipstick is applied or a kiss is landed; very translucent which allows for blood to show through

Labial frenulum

Attaches the lips to the gums

Hard palate

Rigid surface of mouth that helps with eating (push food against it)

Soft palate

Contains the uvula; rises to shut off airway to nose when we swallow.


Ball of food that is created in the mouth while masticating.

Functions of the tongue

Gripping and repositioning food during chewing Mixing food with saliva and forming the bolus
Initiation of swallowing and speech

Lingual frenulum

Attaches the tongue to the floor of the mouth.


Tongue-tied; when the lingual frenulum is quite large and the tongue is not able to move to speak; needs to be cut


Helps close airway to nose when eating.

Functions of the salivary glands

Cleans mouth
Dissolve food chemicals for taste
Moistens food to create bolus
Breaks down starchy foods


Issue: Inflammation of the parotid glands
How get it? Spread by saliva
Symptoms: Fever, pain when swallowing acidic foods; sterility in men
Treatments: Medication and vaccines


Bad breath caused by excessive bacteria in the mouth usually a result of a lack of saliva to cleanse the mouth

Primary teeth (Deciduous teeth) (Milk teeth) (Baby teeth)

The first set of teeth you get as a baby; 20 total; 6 months-24 months-ish


Cutting teeth; front 4 up and 4 down

Canines (cuspids/eyeteeth)

Tearing and piercing teeth; 2 up and 2 down

Premolars (bicuspids)

Grinding & crushing teeth; 4 up and 4 down


Grinding & crushing teeth; 6 up and 6 down (including wisdom teeth)


Exposed part of tooth


Gum; pink tissue surrounding the tooth


Hard, calcified substance that covers the crown of the tooth


Part of the tooth embedded in the gingiva


Where the crown and the root meet


Hard covering of the outside of the root

Periodontal ligament

Anchors the tooth to the gum and below


Hard substance that makes up the bulk of the tooth; under the enamel

Pulp cavity

Contains the blood vessels and nerves of the tooth

Root canal

Where the pulp extends to the roots of the teeth

Dental caries

Cavities; caused by a breakdown of enamel by bacteria

Impacted teeth

When the teeth stay in the bone; have to be removed surgically

Root canal

Removal of pulp because of death of the tooth


When too much calculus (tartar) has built up on the teeth breaking the seal between the gingiva and teeth and causing much inflammation


Advanced gingivitis; occurs when calculus continues to build and the bone around the teeth is dissolved


Passage for food and air; have muscles that push food into the esophagus


10" long tube that is collapsed when not eating; allows for passage of food from the pharynx to the stomach


Burning, radiating pain that occurs when gastric juices back up into the esophagus

Hiatal hernia

When the stomach protrudes above the diaphragm and gastric juices enter the esophagus



Salivary amylase

Enzyme that breaks down starches & sugars in the mouth.




Temporary storage tank where proteins start their breakdown and food is converted to chyme.


Paste like substance made up of a mixture of food and bile.


Inflammation of the stomach wall


Vomiting or stomach emptying; caused by extreme stretching or irritants in the stomach

Gastric ulcers

Issue: Erosion of the stomach wall
How get it? Caused by a bacteria, aspirin, acidic foods
Symptoms: Burning sensation in the area under the sternum 1-3 hours after eating often relieved by eating again
Treatments: Change of diet, medication

Small intestine

Major digestive organ; where the most absorption of nutrients occurs.

3 subdivisions of the small intestine

Duodenum - 10" long
Jejunum - 8 feet long
Ileum - 12 feet long


Largest gland of the body that produces bile and filters & processes nutrient rich blood.


A yellow-green, alkaline solution containing bile salts, bile pigments, cholesterol, neutral fats, phospholipids, and electrolytes that function to break up fats

4 lobes of the liver



Progressive chronic inflammation of the liver that results in more scar tissue being made than regular tissue resulting in a more fibrous liver that doesn't function properly; usually due to alcoholism or hepatitis


A blockage of the bile duct causes the yellow bile pigments to accumulate in the blood and are deposited in the skin

Hepatitis A

Issue: Inflammation of the liver
How get it? Fecal material in food, raw shellfish, water contamination, and feces-mouth contact
Symptoms: Fever, tired, sore muscles, headache, loss of appetite, weight loss - symptoms last for 2 months and you can pass it on for 2 weeks before symptoms appear
Treatments: Change in diet, drinking lots of water; no meds available

Hepatitis C

Issue: Chronic inflammation/infection of the liver that is life threatening
How get it? Spread by contact with contaminated blood (drug use/sexual contact)
Symptoms: Jaundice, fatigue
Treatments: Drug therapy


Stores bile not needed immediately for digestion and concentrates it by absorbing water and ions.


Issue: Large stones build up in the gallbladder causing blockages
How get it? You won the gallstone lottery! ;D
Symptoms: Pain in the right thoracic region; jaundice
Treatments: Lasering the stones to break them up; removal of the gallbladder


The gland that produces enzymes that break down all sorts of food; empties into the duodenum.

Large intestine

Absorbs water from chyme and eliminates them as feces.


Inflammation of the appendix due to build-up of bacteria


Inflammation of the diverticula that may cause a rupture of the diverticula and can lead to leaking of feces into the peritoneal cavity


When water is not absorbed bin the large intestine and foods leave the bowels very quickly


When too much water is removed and the feces become hard and difficult to remove from the body

IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome)

Issue: Recurring or persistent abdominal pain (relieved by defacation
How get it? Stress is a major cause
Symptoms: Change in consistency & frequency of feces, bloating, flatulence, nausea, depression
Treatments: Stress management; medications to relieve symptoms

Be able to label the organs of the digestive system.

Mouth (oral cavity)
Parotid gland
Sublingual gland
Submandibular gland
Ascending colon
Transverse colon
Descending colon
Small intestine

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