Food Entering The Nasal Cavity When Eating

This subject only relates to Food safety in a very round about way but because a reader sought information on the subject I have decided to give it some attention.

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.

About Andrew Routledge

Andy has many years of experience in food preparation, Food Hygiene, Catering and staff Training

13 Responses to “Food Entering The Nasal Cavity When Eating”

  1. Ally

    I was laughing and an icebreaker candy went down my throat and while I was coughing it back up it went in my nasal cavity but now I can’t feel it so idk if it went down or it’s still up there in a position where I can’t feel it , I can still breathe through both my mouth and nose, do you think it’s gone? should I seek medical assistance just to be positive? Or should I wait it out?

  2. Illumina Danielle

    I inhaled some food items, over the Course of a few days (after 6,000 Miles in a 32 ft. Motorhome, aka “Stress”), and at first, thought maybe I was a Goner. I Survived, however, this Particle, has remained behind My Sinuses, in what feels like My Septum (according to looking at the diagram, at Specialist), and I can Feel this, whenever I Swallow. It is SOOO Uncomfortable, and I have felt it affecting My left Eye (seems lodged on that side), as Well as giving Me the WORST headache, which definately is in My Sinus System. Nothing was seen with little Probe at ENT (it’s not in the Nostril), so He scheduled a CT Scan, which said, only after 1 Month of treatment, which the Specialist said was antihistamine, and I said “no thanks”. So.. Still in there, it’s been since before Thanksgiving. Affecting My Well-Being GREATLY, and more Uncomfortable than I can Explain. Sinus washes seem to force it further, into My head. I’ve moved to a different State. Maybe the doctors here, can help..haven’t seen One, yet.

  3. Gloria

    I need help,whenever eating food enters my nasal cavity.sometimes it gets out by itself but lately it isn’t.. It’s really uncomfortable.i imagine the particles in there rotten and the danger they pose to me.

  4. A Fields

    I need to know how do I get a doctor to see if I have food in my sinus cavity ?
    In June I think I got food in my sinus cavity.
    And I’ve gone to the ENT and the G.I. the emergency room five times and they say different things but I think it’s acid reflex I have lost 15 pounds I’m only really eating yogurt and soup broth when I swallow it feels like somethings in the tissue in the back of my truck

  5. Stephanie

    Hi.this happens to me rather frequently. I’d say once our twice a week. I usually get it out with in a few hours. The one food that does this to me the most often is carrots, nice big chunks of carrot usually when I wasn’t ready to swallow.

  6. Jay

    Wow, thank you for this post. I had a food particle go up my nose tonight, and it got me worried. The sensation was quite uncomfortable, I can in fact still feel it. I was wondering if this was a normal thing that happens, or if there was something wrong with me. Your article was quite helpful in answering my question. Should I wait for my body to flush the particle out, or should I flush it out myself by using a neti pot?

  7. Gabby

    Hi, I somehow got egg to go up my nasal cavity and I’m trying to get it out, trying to trick my nose into sneezing…

  8. Andrew Routledge

    Hi Tim, thanks for the question. From a food hygiene standpoint all you rellly need is for your food to be hot in less than twenty minutes which is the time it takes for bacteria to multiple. Almost anything can be heated in a microwave, I heat all my lunches in the micro because I take a packed lunch (not sandwiches)to work. In general I find that cheese does not heat well in the microwave oven, niether do most pastries. They tend to go soggy. Avocado does not do well in the micro either, it tends to blacken. Sandwiches should most definately be heated in a toaster oven or in a sandwich maker grill which is what I personally prefer. Pasta generally heats well in a micro oven, just make sure that the paste has not started to dry out, otherwise it is better to steam it in a pressure cooker. Here’s something; I like to make a lot of spanish tortilla and I like it nice and thick. I cook it on a skillet and use a plate to flip it over but because of the thickness of the tortilla I don’t like to over brown it so when I’ve taken it out of the skillet I put it into the micro for four to five minutes just to make sure that all the egg is fully cooked in the middle. Hope that helps. Andy.

  9. Andrew Routledge

    Thank you. I hope that you will be back to read more. Hopefully I will be able to find a tool that will give you the option of downloading all of the written content of the blog into PDF format so that you can access information more easily. Andy

  10. Andrew Routledge

    Thank you very much for those kind remarks. It is very gratifying to know that people get pleasure from the articles. Happy days, Andy

  11. Andrew Routledge

    I’m so glad that I could be of help to you. Good luck with your’s.

  12. Andrew Routledge

    Glad to be of service, please use the site as much as you like.

  13. Andrew Routledge

    Hi, nice of you to say so. Hope to see you around again in the near future.

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