Gag Reflex Keeping You From Brushing Your Tongue? 4 Steps To Overcome The Problem

Dentist Blog

If you have bad breath, you're not alone. It's estimated that about 60 million Americans suffer from chronic bad breath. Chronic bad breath can be caused by the bacteria that builds up on your tongue. One way to combat bad breath is to brush your tongue when you brush your teeth. That can be difficult to do when you suffer from an over-active gag reflex. If you gag every time you try to brush your tongue, don't give up. There are ways to overcome an over-active gag reflex so you can clean your tongue and your breath.

Brush Your Teeth First

If you normally try to brush your tongue first, try reversing the order and brush your teeth first. Brushing your teeth first will allow you the opportunity to get used to having your mouth open before you move to your tongue. As you brush your teeth, move towards your tongue a little at a time. This will allow you to clean most of your tongue at the same time as you're brushing your teeth. Once you're done brushing your teeth, use you brush to slowly clean the remaining portion of your tongue.

Start at the Front

Instead of starting at the back of your tongue, where the gag reflex is strongest, start brushing your tongue towards the front. Stick your tongue out just far enough for the tip to touch your front teeth. Once you've brushed that portion, stick your tongue out a bit more and brush that area. Continue slowly sticking out more of your tongue until you've brushed the entire surface.

Breathe Through Your Mouth

If you normally hold your breath while brushing your tongue, try breathing through your mouth instead. Breathing through your mouth while you're brushing your tongue will reduce the gag reflex. If you have a hard time breathing through your mouth at first, try exhaling small amounts of air until you can breathe freely through your mouth while brushing your tongue.

Use Medical Gauze

If you've tried everything and nothing seems to work, switch to medical gauze. Medical gauze is lightweight and can be wrapped around your finger. Simply place a small amount of gauze around the end of your finger. Moisten it with a small amount of water and brush your tongue in a short, circular motion.

A bad gag reflex can make it next to impossible to brush your tongue. The simple tips provided here will help you overcome the problem so you can keep your tongue clean and get rid of the bad breath. For other ideas on how to overcome an over-active gag reflex, be sure to speak to a dentist at your local family dentistry clinic. 


11 July 2016