The gag reflex is an involuntary action. It is a contraction of the back of your throat to stop items from going down your throat. This is the body's defense mechanism to prevent us from choking. Some people have more sensitive gag reflexes than others; which can interfere with things such as brushing their teeth, getting dental care, wearing dentures, and swallowing pills, among other things.
Locate the area where your gag reflex is first triggered. The easiest way to do this is to use your toothbrush to brush your tongue. Start at the front of the tongue and keep moving back until your gag reflex starts. The point closest to the front of your tongue that causes you to the gag is the area you need to start desensitizing.
Brush your tongue at that spot where the gag reflex is triggered. Ignore the gagging and continue brushing for around 10 to 15 seconds. Stop brushing after the stated time period.
Repeat the same procedure every night for the first week. Brush your tongue in the same spot that the gag reflex is triggered. You should notice less gagging each time that you do this. until eventually there is no gagging at all. If it takes more than a week, continue doing it nightly until the gagging stops.
Move your gag reflex trigger back further by extending the area that you brush. Brush 1/4 to 1/2 inch further back on your tongue. This new area is now your gag reflex trigger and where you should do your nightly brushing.
Work on that area nightly until you can brush that part of your tongue without gagging. Each time that you are able to move your toothbrush back further, you have disengaged your gag reflex on another part of your tongue.
Continue moving your toothbrush back, and brushing a new part of your tongue, until you can brush the entire visual portion of your tongue without gagging.
Tips & Warnings
- If desensitizing your gag reflex does not work for you, or if your gag reflex is so strong that it interferes with you eating or taking necessary medications, you might want to see a hypnotist who can help you to overcome your gag reflex.
- Some people have success controlling their gag reflex by breathing through their nose instead of their mouth.
- The gag reflex is an important safety mechanism for your body. You may not want to disengage your gag reflex entirely of you are preventing your body from protecting itself from choking.