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Inside of the throat, from the oral and nasal cavities (seemouth, nose) to the trachea and esophagus. It has three connected sections: the nasopharynx, at the back of the nasal cavity; the oropharynx, in the back of the oral cavity down to the epiglottis (a flap of tissue that closes off the larynx during swallowing); and the laryngopharynx, from the epiglottis to the esophagus. The oropharynx contains the palatine tonsils. The eustachian tubes connect the middle ears to the pharynx, allowing air pressure on the eardrum to be equalized. Disorders include pharyngitis, tonsillitis, and cancer.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on pharynx, visit Britannica.com.