3 Ways to Suppress the Gag Reflex

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3 Ways to Suppress the Gag Reflex
3 Ways to Suppress the Gag Reflex

Whether you're trying to brush your back molars or your dentist is looking for cavities, the pharyngeal reflex, better known as the gag reflex or that famous gag reflex, can make oral hygiene a very unpleasant time. However, you don't need to keep suffering from it. There are several tips on the internet on how to suppress this reflex, either numbing the taste buds or stimulating the taste buds to stop choking, as well as tips to desensitize your pharyngeal reflex, whether using your toothbrush or even using focusing techniques to deal with this unpleasant situation more quickly and easily.


Method 1 of 3: Using Immediate Solutions

Suppress the Gag Reflex Step 1

Step 1. Squeeze your thumb

Make a fist, tucking your left thumb under the remaining fingers of your hand. Squeeze hard, but not so much that you hurt yourself.


this trick presses a point on the palm that controls the choke reflex.

Suppress the Gag Reflex Step 3

Step 2. Put a little salt on your tongue

Wet the tip of your finger, dip it in a little salt and rub it on your tongue. Salt activates the taste buds on the front of the tongue, which sets off a chain reaction that temporarily suppresses the choking reflex.

Another way to do this is to make a mouthwash with a teaspoon of salt diluted in a glass of water

Suppress the Gag Reflex Step 1

Step 3. Numb the soft palate

The pharyngeal reflex is triggered when something touches the soft palate. Therefore, use an anesthetic throat spray, such as flogoral, or apply a topical pain reliever that contains benzocaine using a cotton swab to desensitize the soft palate. The numbing (or tingling) effect should last for about an hour and your taste buds will be less sensitive.

  • Anesthetic throat sprays rarely cause side effects. However, stop using it if you experience vomiting, nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, or an upset stomach.
  • Use benzocaine with care, as, in addition to the swab that can trigger vomiting, some side effects of this medication are fatigue, weakness, irritation of the skin around the ears, bluish skin around the lips and fingertips, and lack of air.
  • Do not use benzocaine if you are allergic to this substance and consult a doctor to see if this medication would be the best option for you, as benzocaine can negatively interact with other medications, vitamins, supplements or herbal remedies you are taking.

Method 2 of 3: Desensitizing the choking reflex

Suppress the Gag Reflex Step 4

Step 1. Find out where your pharyngeal reflex starts

Do this simply using the toothbrush to brush your tongue. Focus on the point on your tongue where you feel like you are going to vomit when you brush it.

Do not put your fingers in your mouth as this can also induce vomiting


It's more common to feel this choking reflex in the morning, so skip this test in the late afternoon or evening.

Suppress the Gag Reflex Step 5

Step 2. Brush your tongue exactly where the choking reflex starts

Yes, you will choke and it will be unpleasant, but that will be quick. Spend just ten seconds brushing the area (and choking) and that's it.

Do this for the next few nights to gradually diminish this reflex over time

Suppress the Gag Reflex Step 6

Step 3. Increase the brushing area

After touching the toothbrush to the reflex starting point without choking, it's time to move the brush away. Try brushing 6 to 12 mm back from where the choking feeling used to start. Repeat the entire process as you did in the first point.

Suppress the Gag Reflex Step 7

Step 4. Move the brush back

Do this whenever you progress by desensitizing small areas at a time until you reach the visible point farthest away from your tongue (or closest to your throat). Eventually, the toothbrush will finally touch your soft palate.

Suppress the Gag Reflex Step 8

Step 5. Do this desensitization every day

Be persistent and patient as this process takes about a month to complete, but it's worth it. In time, you won't even feel like vomiting anymore when something touches the back of your throat. However, it is necessary to repeat the desensitization process from time to time to prevent the choking reflex from returning.

A good way to do this is to brush your tongue regularly, which will not only help to suppress the pharyngeal reflex but will also leave you with good breath

Method 3 of 3: Redirecting Your Focus

Suppress the Gag Reflex Step 9

Step 1. Meditate

Ask your dentist if you can use ear plugs to muffle the sound of the equipment they will be wearing during your visit. This will help you focus on your thoughts and forget about what the dentist is doing in your mouth. If you think you might fall asleep, ask him to put on a mouth opener to keep your jaw open throughout your appointment.

Suppress the Gag Reflex Step 10

Step 2. Whisper

This controls breathing, which is essential for relaxation. Because it's also difficult to choke and hum at the same time, doing this at the dentist's office while taking an X-ray or taking a mold for your teeth can help prevent the urge to vomit.

Suppress the Gag Reflex Step 11

Step 3. Raise one leg a little

Do this while sitting or lying down in the dentist's chair and concentrate on keeping your leg up. Change legs when the one that's upright starts to hurt. This trick will distract you from what the dentist is doing in your mouth.


this trick won't work so well if you rest one leg on top of the other.

Suppress the Gag Reflex Step 12

Step 4. Listen to music

Ask your dentist if you can use headphones to listen to music while he is touching your mouth. Listen to distracting music or interesting podcasts that demand a lot of attention so you're so busy listening to the audio that you don't even notice what the dentist is doing.


  • Practice this pharyngeal reflex control by eating foods that make you choke. However, if you are still choking a lot, avoid these foods.
  • Don't eat right before doing something that triggers or might trigger the choking reflex so you don't end up vomiting.


  • When desensitizing the choking reflex using the toothbrush, don't start too far behind the tongue, as you need to desensitize all the points on your tongue little by little so that you don't feel so much discomfort.
  • Remember that the pharyngeal reflex is your body's way of protecting you from choking. So avoid permanently desensitizing your soft palate.
  • Frequent vomiting can be a sign of a more serious health condition, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which has to do with the stomach and the acid levels in it. Therefore, see a gastroenterologist if, in addition to the urge to vomit, you also frequently experience acid reflux or heartburn.

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