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A few tips on handling a sensitive gag reflex
- As is always the case—visit with us! We always want our valued patients to express any concerns or fears. A sensitive gag reflex is actually quite common, so don’t be embarrassed! We can work with you to better ensure your comfort in handling this concern.
- Breathe! Yes, part of it may be that simple. Focusing on your breathing can not only help physically, but it may also focus your mind away from what’s happening in your mouth. Try taking deep breaths through your nose. Sometimes a nasal decongestant helps make it easier.
- Listening to music can help you relax and redirect your focus.
- Some studies indicate that gagging may be worse in the morning, so consider scheduling an afternoon visit.
- Sitting up straighter seems to help some people. Let’s experiment with your position in the chair to see if that helps.
- One study shows that folding your left thumb into the palm of your hand, then making a fist and squeezing your left thumb helps some people with their gag reflex. Try it!
Can you lose your gag reflex?
You can reduce or eliminate your gag reflex by gradually getting your soft palate accustomed to being touched. One technique is to use a toothbrush on your tongue: Using a soft toothbrush to brush your tongue until you reach the area that makes you feel like you might gag. If you gag, you have brushed too far.
Should I brush my teeth after throwing up?
Wait to brush. Brushing immediately after vomiting can actually lead to more damage. Since the stomach acid can weaken enamel, scrubbing it with your toothbrush might cause scratching and more dental problems.
- Don’t eat right before the activity that tends to trigger the gag reflex. This will minimize the chances of vomiting.
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- Practice eating foods that make you gag. If you still gag, avoid the food.
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Your complete comfort is our high priority
Determining what causes a sensitive gag reflex can be difficult. Whatever the cause, it’s important to remember that we can help. Talk to us! If you’ve had this problem in the past and have found things that help, please share them with us! We’re always anxious to learn from the experiences of our patients. Write your answer in the comments below, or on our Facebook page!
Thank you for trusting us with your oral care! We appreciate you.
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