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How to Prevent Swallowing Air

How to Prevent Swallowing Air

Swallowing air, also known as aerophagia, is a common complaint that leads to excess burping and belching. Read on to know how to prevent swallowing air.
Dr. Sumaiya Khan
One of the most common inadvertent activities we do is swallow air, which leads to a condition known as aerophagia. This is a condition where there is excess ingestion of air, which can turn into air pockets in the digestive tract. This can lead to constant burping and flatulence. There are many different causes due to which a person tends to inadvertently swallow air, especially while talking and eating. There are many symptoms associated with this problem, like excess of belching, burping, and bloating. Given below are the various ways of preventing it and doing away with the whole problem of excess ingestion of air.
How to Stop Yourself from Swallowing Air
  • Try to chew the food that you eat with your mouth closed. Swallowing air while eating is a common phenomenon and if you eat with your mouth open, you will tend to swallow a good deal of air.
  • Wait till your mouth is empty before you talk to people during a meal. Talking to people while there is some food in your mouth is the same as chewing food with the mouth open, as this also increases the chances of aerophagia.
  • Avoid smoking, drinking from a straw, or eating and drinking too quickly.
  • Avoid breathing from your mouth and only breathe through your nose. If you have mouth breathing problems which can lead you to swallow air while sleeping, then consult a doctor and get a mouth guard fitted. Breathing from the mouth not only increases your chances of inhaling air directly into the stomach, but it also does not lead to any kind of humidification and decontamination of air the way breathing through nose does.
  • If you have loose dentures, get them refitted and resized. This is because loose fitting oral appliances tend to trap air bubbles and saliva, leading to excessive burping.
  • If you are suffering from a post-nasal drip, then seek treatment for it.
  • There are some people who get anxious very easily. When they are anxious, they tend to breathe from their mouth and hyperventilate. In such cases, a simple tip is to try out some yoga and simple relaxation techniques to avoid swallowing air.
  • If you are lactose intolerant, then avoid taking in dairy products, as ingesting them will lead to excessive flatulence.
  • Avoid ingesting carbonated fluids, as these tend to increase the amount of air ingested and lead to excess belching and burping.
  • Try to avoid directly swallowing air immediately after you yawn. Yawning itself often draws a large amount of air into the mouth and swallowing after that tends to push the air down into the esophagus. Instead, you can try and exhale after you yawn before swallowing.
  • If you are a constant gum chewer and feel that you are swallowing air all the time, then try to break your habit. This is because when the jaw is constantly moving up and down, you tend to create more space in the oral cavity for ingestion of air. Instead, switch to using mint instead of gum.
These were just a few simple tips and tricks on how to do away with embarrassing aerophagia symptoms, like excess burping and belching. Although this is not a severe medical disorder, there may be certain cases where the person could complain of excess bloating. In such cases, there could be an underlying gastrointestinal disorder that could be leading to this problem. So, if you are suffering from excess bloating and belching despite cutting down on the frequency of swallowing air, then it is best that you consult a doctor and get your condition diagnosed and treated.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.