We place food in our mouth and our tongue, lips, teeth, and jaw all work together to chew the food until it's ready to be swallowed. We then use our tongues to push the food backwards towards our throat. When we move our tongues back it sets in motion the epiglottis.
The epiglottis is one of the most important things you need to know about to understand the swallow. The epiglottis is the little "flap" that will lower down and cover your airway when you are swallowing food. The epiglottis can't always be lowered or we wouldn't be able to get any air in and out of our lungs! So, during the swallow our tongue pushes back, the hyoid bone is elevated which pulls the larynx up and then the epiglottis flaps down to cover the trachea and direct the food to go into the esophagus and safely down into our stomach.