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I am a 51-year-old male, and for the past six years have been experiencing a gagging sensation whenever I brush my teeth. One doctor suggested getting a dental cleaning done, but that has not helped. What could cause this, and is there a cure?

There are many reasons for experiencing a feeling of nausea while brushing. The most common reason is the gag reflex. This is the body’s protective mechanism to prevent unwanted materials from entering your throat. In some people, the gag reflex is heightened.

If your brushing pattern is wrong, and if you brush very hard and are pushing the brush towards the throat or to the back of the tongue, the gag reflex gets triggered.

I suggest that while brushing you try to distract your mind by doing something else. This way you will not focus on gagging.
For example, you can try brushing while sitting and raising one leg. Your concentration on keeping your leg raised will distract your mind and you might not experience the uncomfortable feeling. Breathing through the mouth while brushing can also help.

Not keeping your tongue clean can also cause nausea. Instead of brushing your tongue, use a tongue cleaner.

Avoid medicated toothpastes as in some cases, they, too, can trigger nausea.

Indigestion, heartburn and acid reflux could also trigger sensations of nausea.

If your symptoms do not subside, please visit a dentist to learn proper brushing techniques and a gastroenterologist to rule out digestive issues.