Are you feeling an unpleasant, involuntary contraction at the back of your throat?
Well, this is because of the Gag Reflex which is the natural contraction of your throat when something touches your soft palate. Besides touching the back of your throat, it can also be stimulated by touching the roof of your inner mouth, the back of the tongue or the area around the tonsils. This natural contraction usually prevents you from choking and it is quite helpful but it can also be a big problem when this Gag reflex is extra sensitive or overactive.
According to a study, 1/3rd of healthy adults do not have a Gag reflex at all. On the other hand, out of every 10 people, one person usually got hypersensitive Gag Reflex which can cause difficulty in eating sticky foods, fear of going to the dentist and considering the worst case scenario, it can lead to malnourishment or even picking eating. The study was published in the Lancet.
Some people’s Gag reflex is so sensitive and active that they find it difficult to brush their teeth without puking. The good thing is you can get rid of your Gag reflex and there are many techniques and tricks to overcome this problem. If you are looking for the answer to “How to get rid of your Gag Reflex”, you have come to the right place.
Steps to get rid of Gag reflex:
For whatever reason you want to get rid of your Gag reflex, let’s have a look at the best techniques to achieve this goal.
1. Suppressing Gag reflex through Desensitization:
Desensitization means training your soft palate to get used to receiving objects without gagging and it is quite possible to suppress your Gag reflex through desensitization. You can do that while brushing your teeth and it is the best time to train your soft palate and to get rid of Gag reflex as soon as possible. Follow these simple steps while brushing:
- Use the toothbrush to brush your tongue and work your way in deeper.
- As soon as you begin to gag, do not stop. Try to brush that area for almost 10 seconds at first even while you are gagging.
- Make this a habit as whenever you brush your teeth, repeat the exact same process concentrating on the same spot.
- Keep concentrating on the same spot and you will feel after few days that you can handle the gagging. That spot of your mouth is now desensitized.
- Reach deeper into the mouth next time and keep moving further until you reach the farthest spot the brush can reach and in this way you can suppress your gag reflex and get rid of it.
This whole process can take about a couple of weeks to complete and once it is done, you will learn to suppress your gag reflex and get rid of it. But do remember to repeat the desensitization process from time to time to make sure that your gag reflex does not return.
Note: This training is usually not recommended for children as they might choke on the toothbrush.
2. Prevent Gagging during dental treatment:
Whenever you visit your dentist, you might have found yourself gagging when the dentist starts poking in your mouth. There are many ways to prevent gagging during dental treatment. Some of the best are as follows:
- Breathe through your nose as it is not a good practice to breathe through your mouth when the dentist’s tools are also in your mouth. Concentrate on breathing through your nose instead of mouth to provide your body with enough oxygen.
- Try to use a nasal decongestant as it keeps your nasal passageways open and helps in easier breathing through your nose.
- It is observed that snore-relief sprays suppress gag reflex perfectly. You can also try a throat spray with numbing properties as it should last for about an hour and that is enough time to survive the trip to your dentist.
- Try to talk to the dentist as gagging can also be caused by some psychological factors. Talking to your dentist can make you feel relaxed and it can also help in preventing gagging during the treatment.
- Taking a sip of very cold water can also help in preventing the gagging as some dentists say that it is quite helpful. You can also try it on your next visit to a dentist.
- Try to sit up during the dental procedure instead of lying down as gagging also have something to do with your position sometimes.
3. Use table salt to stop Gag reflex:
Putting a little amount of table salt on your tongue can help in suppressing your gag reflex. Put some table salt at the tip of your tongue or put a teaspoon of salt in a glass of water and flush your mouth with that, then spit it. This practice can also help a lot in getting rid of Gag reflex.
4. Other useful tips to get rid of Gag reflex:
Here are some of the tips that can help you in getting rid of Gag reflex
- Making a clenched hand can help to prevent gag reflex. Close your hand with your thumb shut in the hand and make a clenched hand.
- You might have observed it is hard to Gag and murmur in the meantime so hum to stop gag reflex.
- Diverting your brain can also help a lot in preventing gag reflex so divert your attention by listening to music or anything you like.
- Consult your doctor or visit a psychologist as gagging can be caused by different medical problems or by past traumas so visiting your doctor or psychologist to determine the deeper issues that fuel your gag reflex.
- Keep your fingers and hands clean whenever you utilize them keeping in mind the end goal of minimizing the possibilities of disease.
- Also keep your fingers far away from your thought as it can cause irritation and gagging.
5. Warnings & Precautions:
You need to keep few things in mind concerning your gag reflex which is as follows:
- Remember that gag reflex is your body’s natural response to secure you from stifling.
- While you are trying to disengage gag reflex with the toothbrush, do not begin too far back. Do not try to desensitize a farther point in your tongue without first treating a spot at the front.
- Always consult your doctor to suppress gag reflex as it could be due to some other medical issues as well.
If your gag reflex is normal and it does not cause any problem quite often, then you don’t have to completely desensitize the whole soft palate. Always remember that your gag reflex is there for a very important reason.