For most people, food entering the nasal cavity when eating is not a major problem. Few in fact experience the phenomena of food entering the nasal cavity to any serious degree in the sense that the food forms an obstruction of airflow through the nose or the nose and mouth. It is far more common for people to eject liquids through their nasal cavity. This can happen for a number of reasons. Firstly, it often happens when our mental concentration levels are lowered, such as when we laugh, sneeze of cough. Secondly, it can happen when we are surprized suddenly such as may happen if we are slapped on the back. Thirdly, it can happen if our mouths are too full and have problem breathing or swallowing. In this case breath or the action of contraction at the back of the mouth may force liquids, or solids into the nasal cavity. It may also happen to infants if they begin to cry while drinking. Another scenario in which food may be inadvertantly forced into the nasal cavity can happen in cases in which solid food or fluid is accidentally inhaled into the trachea (wind pipe) and in the process of attempting to expell it back into the bucal cavity, it is often forced into the caverns of the nasal passages due to the fact that they are situated directly above the trachea. This phenomenon can greatly incease the intense discomfor of the blockage of the wind pipe and can cause further temporary problems associated in the resumption of the normal breathing rythm. In a minority of cases the outcome may be more serious and require some intervention.
The sensation experienced in such instances may vary from mildly uncomfortable to quite uncomfortable. Rarely do these cases present a serious risk.
The cases in which food may enter the nasal cavity include the following: improperly chewed food. Food must be masticated thoroughly in the mouth so that it forms a semi adhehsive pellet valled a “Bolus” which is then swallowed whole and easily when it is forced by the tongue and soft pallet to the back of the throat. Food that cannot be properly chewed, as in cases whereby individuals has lost all their teeth, may find some pieces of food difficult to swallow. Food that gets stuck at the back of the throat may be accidentally forced into the rear nasal cavity.
Other cases in which food is forced into the nasal cavity may include cases in which individuals have a deformity of the pallet, tongue or a medical condition in which hardening or the inability of the pallet and tongue to contract properly, may cause food to be misdirected into the nasal cavity.
If the airway through the mouth is not blocked, nasal blockages do not present an immediate life threatening risk. However, they can be very uncomfortable. Some medical attention may be required to remove nasal blockages, although, most cases resolves themselves quite well.
Small particals of food do get sucked into the nasal cavity of many people. If the body is not able to remove them they will get infected by, staphilcoccus, streptococcus and other bacteria in the cavity of the nose. Usually, the individual in question and possibly others around him or her may experience an unpleasant smell from the bucal cavity until the offending food particle is dislodged. In other instances, although quite rare, toxins discharged from the bacteria may cause a septic sore to develop within the nasal cavity. Potentially, this may cause discomfort aand in extreme cases may even cause blood poisoning as with any other septic sore anywhere in the body.
When an offensive odor is noticed from the nasal or bocal cavity, medical advice should be sought just as a preventative measure.