What Even Causes a Gag Reflex Anyways?

Do you have a sensitive gag reflex? Do you hate coming to the dentist because of the dreaded x-rays that make you gag? Don’t worry, you aren’t the only one!

When you go to the dentist, and they take x-rays, do you ever get that awful feeling of throwing up whenever they stick the x-ray into your mouth? That is called your gag reflex. This happens when something is in your mouth that goes far towards the back of your throat and touches the soft palate. This causes irritation to the pharynx, and evoke that feeling that you may or may not throw up!

This is extremely common in a dental office. Some patients have what is called hyperactive gag reflex, which is characterized by high sensitivity levels in the pharyngeal nerves and surround area of certain individuals which than evokes your gag reflex with the slightest instance. This is usually more common in children then adults. But if you are an adult and you suffer from this, it could be caused my sensitivity to certain foods, reactions to some sort of medication, indulging in activities that involve high intensity movements.

We know this process isn’t easy for those of you who have the hyperactive gag reflex. Which is why we have some tips for you!

  • Breathe through your nose. Try getting into the grove of breathing through your nose ahead of time.
  • lift one foot in the air, and concentrate on that during the x-ray process
  • Try telling yourself ahead of time that you aren’t going to gag. It has quite the effect!

Gagging is caused by a number of things, and we completely understand. Don’t ever be afraid to tell us that you have trouble with x-rays. We have many tips to keep your mind else where 🙂



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