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Author Topic: Why don't we choke when slurping up the dregs of a drink?  (Read 4158 times)

Owdbadger

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Owdbadger asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Hi,

I'm an English scientist living in New Jersey, USA (born in Cambrideshire).  I must have listened to nearly all your podcasts while mowing the lawn or driving to work (US radio is rubbish).  I love the show.
 
I've noticed that when people have finished a milk shake (or any other drink for that matter), and they suck in all the last bits and bubbles with a straw from the bottom of the glass, it doesn't matter how hard they suck, they never get any bits or bubbles in their lungs.  I've tried it myself.  Why don't we choke?
 
Thanks
 
Ste (short for Stephen)

What do you think?


 

Offline Chemistry4me

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Why don't we choke when slurping up the dregs of a drink?
« Reply #1 on: 13/06/2009 00:12:18 »
Blame it on the straws.
 

Offline Madidus_Scientia

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Why don't we choke when slurping up the dregs of a drink?
« Reply #2 on: 13/06/2009 07:14:50 »
I reckon it's the way you put your tongue sort of around the end of the straw, all the liquid runs into it instead of going straight down your neck
 

Offline thedoc

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lyner

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Why don't we choke when slurping up the dregs of a drink?
« Reply #4 on: 18/06/2009 10:52:10 »
The back of your mouth is extremely sensitive and is aware of very tenuous substances which are hanging around there. You swallow the foam down and don't breathe it in because of this protective mechanism which would make you stop inhaling. Most of these bubbles you refer to, will burst when they reach your palate / tongue - possibly because of the saliva. You could MAKE yourself choke if you fought the reflex - but that could get crud into your lungs so it's not to be recommended.
It is quite possible to choke, though, if a bland liquid at body temperature finds its way there and sneaks past the automatic defences. When I am not thinking what I'm doing, I often let a small amount of saliva get there (especially when sucking a sweetie) and it can set me off coughing and choking - silly old sod, I hear you cry.
In any case, making 'that noise' is an extremely coarse habit and I should expect better of a TNS contributor. Consider yourself reprimanded. Kids today!
 

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Why don't we choke when slurping up the dregs of a drink?
« Reply #4 on: 18/06/2009 10:52:10 »

 

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