Yet again, a weird "fact" about the human body has blown up on TikTok. This time, a man challenged his followers to try and swallow more than 3 times in a row, claiming that "you can only swallow 2-3 times before your body forces you to stop".
Comments ranged from people stating "I did 3 times and then I felt like I forgot how to swallow" to "4 times and then I saw God", as well as a few cheats who did 20 by using water.
"THIS IS SUCH A RELIEF," another added. "When I'm really anxious I try to swallow too much because I think I can't then I really can't and I panic. Omfg, it's normal."
The swallow limit rumor has been flying around the Internet (and face to face, when that was a thing) for years now. Sometimes it's claimed that it's 2-3 times, others that it's 5. Whatever the number, if you try it you'll find it's a lot more difficult to swallow without any actual food or water to move down your throat.
Give it a try, we'll wait.
See? You may have gone more than the limit (some people can) but after a certain number of times, it does become difficult for most people. One of the main factors in this is the diminishing amounts of saliva as you continue to swallow. Dry swallows are not like usual swallows where a bolus (chewed food or an amount of liquid) is involved.
In usual swallowing, the muscles in your throat will contract in a wave-like sequence in order to move the bolus down your esophagus for digestion.
This sequence of contractions – known as peristalsis – are less likely to occur when people are asked to perform dry swallows. As well as this, dry swallows show significant differences from wet ones.
"A wet swallow was associated with slower wave speed, greater duration of the contraction wave, and later time of appearance of the peristaltic wave in the distal esophagus than a dry swallow," one study in the Journal of Applied Physiology reads on the topic.
"The results of our studies indicate that although the act of swallowing alone in man initiates peristalsis, afferent information contributes to the regulation of primary peristalsis."
As you dry swallow and your saliva runs out (before it can be replenished), it becomes more difficult for your muscles to produce a peristaltic sequence, making it near impossible (for some) to perform a swallow.
Don't freak out, it can be solved by adding a little water into your main face hole.