Air can be swallowed if an individual eats rapidly, does not chew food properly before swallowing, drinks carbonated beverages, is tense or anxious, chews gum, smokes or wear dentures, as reported by WebMD. Most of the time, swallowing air is not associated with any negative side effects or consequences although it may result in bloating, excess gas and abdominal pain. Swallowed air that is not released as gas by burping will travel through the gastrointestinal tract and be released as flatulence.
The condition of swallowing large amounts of air is known as aerophagia. Aerophagia typically occurs in patients who are either struggling with mental health problems or are feeling extremely anxious and stressed. This condition can also be self-induced and has been prominently observed in individuals who would like to show off their abilities in burping loudly.
Generally speaking, most teenagers and adults do not have a problem with swallowing air. This condition is only a concern for babies as they often swallow air when they are feeding. As a result, it is important to burp babies during and after feeding in order to get rid of as much excess swallowed air as possible. The swallowed air can cause babies to become upset or exhibit colic behavior.