When you swallow, usually the epiglottis (a flap of cartilage
) will cover the trachea (a tube that you breathe through) so food and liquids do not obstruct your breathing.
Sometimes the food or liquid can "miss" and accidentally pass down the trachea instead of the esophagus (the tube that leads to your stomach) causing choking
or an unpleasant sensation.
Answer assisted by Christopher Bailey, Medical Student