Your Gag Reflex

Wendy Parker, RDH

Your Gag Reflex

Gag reflexes are just not fun.  There is no other way to put it.  We all know they are designed to protect our airway from foreign objects, but why do they have to be so pronounced, especially at the dentist office!  Well, here’s a little more about gag reflexes and maybe a few suggestions that will help next time you feel it starting to act up!

The gag reflex is a pharyngeal reflex by the back of your throat which is triggered any time an object touches the roof of your mouth, back of your tongue, tonsils, or back of your throat.  It helps us prevent choking and is especially important in infant as they are transitioning from liquid foods to solids, until they’re about 6-7 months old.   Some people have have a hypersensitive gag reflex that is triggered quickly anytime something touches the back of the throat or mouth.  No one totally understands why some gag reflexes are more than others, but it is believed that people who did not have solid foods introduced to them until after 7 months of age tend to have a more sensitive gag reflex.

If you are one of the lucky few that have a hypersensitive gag reflex try these few tactics next time at the dentist:

  • Numbing sprays or gels
  • Squeeze your thumb during the procedure. This applies pressure to your palm of your hand that controls the gag reflex.
  • Desensitize your tongue by brusing it every day
  • Apply salt to the center of your tongue
  • Meditation or hum
  • Raise one leg slightly – this keeps your mind off what is happening to trigger your reflex
  • Listen to music
Sources:

http://www.wikihow.com/Suppress-the-Gag-Reflex

http://www.livescience.com/34110-gag-reflex.html

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Pregnancy and Oral Health

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Amanda Orvis, RDH

Pregnancy and Oral Health

Being pregnant comes with various responsibilities and it is important that you continue to maintain your normal brushing and flossing routine throughout your pregnancy.

For most women your routine dental visits are safe throughout your pregnancy. Make sure when calling to make your dental appointments you let your dental office know what stage of your pregnancy you are in. Let the office know if you have had any changes in your medications or if you have received any special instructions from your physician.  Depending on your specific situation and your treatment needs, some of your dental appointments and procedures may need to be postponed until after your pregnancy.

Dental x-rays are sometimes necessary if you suffer a dental emergency during your pregnancy, or if they are needed for diagnostic purposes. It may be wise to contact your physician prior to your dental appointment to get their approval to have x-rays done if they are necessary.

During pregnancy some women may develop a temporary condition known as pregnancy gingivitis which is typically caused by hormonal changes you experience during pregnancy. This is a mild form of periodontal disease that can cause the gums to be red, tender and/or sore.  It may be recommended that you be seen for more frequent cleanings to help control the gingivitis. If you notice any changes in your mouth during pregnancy, please contact your dentist.

During your pregnancy you may have the desire to eat more frequently. When you feel the need to snack try to choose foods that are low in sugar and that are nutritious for you and your baby. Frequent snacking can cause tooth decay. It is also a great idea to incorporate fluoridated mouth rinse into your daily routine. There are several different brands to choose from. Make sure to look for the ADA seal of approval which guarantees safety and effectiveness

If you experience morning sickness anytime throughout your pregnancy you can try rinsing with a teaspoon of baking soda mixed with water. This mixture lowers the acidity present in your mouth. This acidity can cause erosion of the enamel. Your gag reflex may also become overly sensitive during your pregnancy, so switching to a smaller toothbrush head may be beneficial.

Please remember that the body goes through many changes during pregnancy and maintaining your normal brushing and flossing routine plays an important role in your overall health.

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

http://www.ada.org/sealprogramproducts.aspx

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CDgQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.idph.state.ia.us%2FIDPHChannelsService%2Ffile.ashx%3Ffile%3DA6FAA346-C53D-49A5-AB8D-6198A087A02A&ei=gJO3UsDwH8bbyQG8sYHYAw&usg=AFQjCNFlpM4U5Hwp3J00K0jdNoM5DHzOXw&bvm=bv.58187178,d.aWc

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