How to Stop Your Dentures from Triggering Your Gag Reflex

Posted on: 13 October 2016

The gag reflex is an automatic, protective response your body makes to something unexpected or unusual touching the back of your throat. This reflex is useful as it helps you to vomit when necessary and prevents you from swallowing potentially harmful foreign bodies. However, some denture users find that their dentures can unexpectedly trigger the gag reflex. This unpleasant sensation makes wearing dentures very uncomfortable. However, help is at hand. Here are a few tips for preventing your dentures from causing you to gag. 

Let your mouth and mind adapt to wearing dentures

If you are using your first set of dentures or if you have recently had a new pair made, then don't be surprised if they cause a gag reflex when you insert them. Though it sounds strange, your mouth and your mind need to get used to the presence of the dentures. In the early stages, your brain may still consider them as a foreign body in your mouth. Give them some time; after a little while your body should get used to the sensation of the dentures in your mouth and your gag reflex should stop being triggered. 

Check the fit

As you age, your gums and jaw naturally change shape, but your dentures remain the same. If you have had your dentures for many years, it may be that they simply no longer fit the new shape of your mouth. In some cases, this can cause the plate to slip backwards in the mouth activating the gag reflex. If you are experiencing problems with gagging or any feelings of looseness, you should visit your dentist who will be able to make appropriate denture repairs to improve the fit of the plate. Or if the shape of your mouth has changed significantly, your dentist can arrange for a new set of dentures to be made. 

Check the length of the plate

If you consistently suffer from gagging while wearing your dentures, even after a period of 'wearing them in', you should consult your dentist. It may be that the plate for your dentures goes further back into the mouth than is necessary and is always activating your gag reflex. If this is the case, your dentist should be able to make the necessary adjustments by shortening the plate. These changes will eliminate the gagging problem. 

If you have any concerns about your dentures, you should book an appointment with your dentist.