For some people, it's easy to hit the gag reflex when they are brushing their teeth, particularly as they start working towards the back of the mouth. That's never pleasant, and it can put some people off brushing their back teeth altogether. Luckily enough, there are several steps you can take to prevent yourself gagging while brushing, and here are just five.
1. Use an Electric Toothbrush
Firstly, try switching to an electric toothbrush. These tend to have smaller heads than manual toothbrushes, so they can get to the back of the mouth without as much danger of hitting the back. Additionally, the fact that you won't need to be moving them backwards and forwards will help prevent any gagging.
2. Look for a Smaller Head
Whether you opt for a manual toothbrush or an electric toothbrush, one thing you need to be aware of is the size of the head. Manual toothbrush heads tend to be larger; if you use one, it's particularly important to look for one that has a smaller head. You can do the same when you look for an electric toothbrush head – the best ones to use are rounded since there is little wasted space.
3. Spit Regularly
It could be that you're gagging while you brush simply because you tend to use too much toothpaste, so make sure you only put a small amount on your brush – around the size of a pea is usually fine. As you brush, make sure you spit whenever you feel your mouth filling up with too much saliva and froth. When this mixture hits the back of your throat, you might start to gag.
4. Tilt Your Head Forwards
If you have a particularly sensitive gag reflex, even the smallest amount of foamy saliva created during brushing can be enough to make you gag, so it helps if you tilt your head slightly forwards to make sure it runs away from the back of your mouth. Your gag reflex is more active when the head is tilted backwards since this puts you at greater risk of choking, so you can trick your body a little simply by tilting the head forwards.
5. Breathe Through the Nose
Finally, make sure you're breathing through your nose instead of through your mouth. You're far less likely to gag if you're getting an adequate supply of oxygen, and breathing through the mouth can suck foamy saliva to the back of it, which you could actually start to choke on as well as gag through.
Contact a local dental clinic for more advice.