Overactive gag reflex

I have an overactive gag reflex. I cannot tolerate any foreign object in my mouth, except for food and my toothbrush. I have a terribly hard time going to the dentist. I’ve tried nitrous oxide, which helps somewhat but I still gag if anything touches my toungue. The last major work I had done, they gave me a valium to take before hand and I did not have much trouble.

I think it is mostly psychological, I feel the urge to gag when I see something disgusting, hear another person gag, or even think about it. I am fighting back the urge while writing this. But there is definitely a physical component, even when high-as-a-kite on nitrous, a touch in the wrong spot will set me off.

I tried google, but there is a comedy troupe named Gag Reflex, umpteen porn sites, and information about sedation dentistry. Does anyone have any advice or ideas of how I might lower my gag sensitivity?



I know this sounds horrible, but…

ask a gay guy or a female with that rare talent…


You say you can tolerate your toothbrush, so maybe start there. Try brushing your tongue after you brush your teeth. Just brush the tip at first, and gradually (over the course of days or weeks) brush farther back as you are able.

Another idea, buy a box of popsicles, and see how far back you can go. The cold may help desensitize your tongue a bit.

Amen… I gag quite easy when brushing the back roof of my mouth for some damn reason.

of course, I have decided if doing something is gonna cause me to gag then I am just not going to do it :slight_smile:

glad you brought this topic up I shall keep an eye on it.

For the tongue-brushing, try sticking your tongue out and kind of biting down on it while you brush. You’ll only get to brush the part that sticks out, of course, but eventually it might desensitize you a bit. That’s what I had to do when I started brushing my tongue.

I have advice about the gag reflex and more…earthy…topics, but I’ll wait to see if anyone really needs to hear it first. Don’t wanna gag anyone, after all.

Good luck!


Doesn’t that tickle?

I’m glad I’m not alone, thanks to everyone for the replies so far. I will try the tounge brushing thing and see how it goes. Bodypoet, I’m willing to hear any advice you can give, I don’t ever plan on doing THAT :eek: but maybe it will be of some help to me.


The only thing that has ever worked for me is concentrating on breathing only through my nose. As long as I’m concentrating on the breath going in and out of my nose I don’t gag at all. When I let my mind wander anywhere else, I start to gag again.

I do this at the dentist every visit, and I am the biggest dental-phobiac I know, but the technique works well in other areas also.

Well, you have to remember that I have almost no gag reflex to start with…

but what little I do have is eliminated entirely when I lie on my side.

And that is alllll I’m gonna say. :slight_smile:

I have the same problem as the original poster… I have discovered that my reflex gets better throughout the day… brushing my teeth in the morning is hell, but in the evening it’s usually not a big deal…

I try to schedule my dental appointments as late in the day as possible and it certainly helps a bit.

I wish there was a way to switch it off… it’s so annoying… even eating foods I like with unusual textures makes me gags (ie. mash potatoes with lumps in them)

Just a quick update. I found a dentist that did IV sedation, and it cost me a pretty penny. I was completely out with the IV and also Nitrous Oxide. He did two root canals and it was completely anxiety and pain-free for me. He did comment, however, that he had a hard time because I kept gagging.

I guess I now know it’s not psychological.